I love to hear people’s stories. Through their experiences, trials and joys they became the people they are. When I was younger I would ask my grandma to tell me stories, in which I would learn about her life as a child and then what it was like to be married with five kids. I loved to visit with her and looking back I wish I would have had the forethought to write down the experiences she went through. Her narrative was mostly about simpler times, but she never made them sound like they were hard times. Throughout her life I knew she didn’t always have it easy but that never stopped her from loving us grandkids, supporting us and making sure when people came to visit they were well fed. She was a rock in our family.

As an adult, married with kids, I wonder what is seen as my narrative. Do I make the way my life is seem harder than what it is so that people will want to listen to me? Do I brush things off too easily even if I may be struggling with something that someone is willing to help me with? Do I hold back on my excitement of things because I don’t want to make a spectacle out of myself? I want my narrative to be strong and full of love and joy, not that there won’t be hard times but I want strength and perseverance to shine through. A gal I was talking to once was telling me of all the things she wanted to do but she was going to wait to do them until her kids were older. At first I thought “how sad, why wait?” but then it dawned on me that this is what her narrative is. Her current story has her kids as the center point. She finds joy in that, she is strong in that, when that shifts and she becomes more of the center then she can do the things her heart desires. Another person I talked to had some major trauma in her younger years that made her grow up way too soon. She had a lot to work through, but what she gained from the events that happened is that they would not define her. She made mistakes, she let people down but she also lifted people up and encouraged people to move forward, to take back their lives and be who they want to be.

This week I am doing something that is a little bit scary for me to do. It may not seem like much, but I am reading a book to a group of kids. This isn’t just any book, it’s a book I wrote about above all things believing in yourself. I may show up and have one kid there, or I may show up and have twenty. You may be thinking: “how hard could this be?” and I would be thinking the same thing if it were someone else, but it’s me. I am putting my heart out on the line, hoping that the kids will like the story. What I am also doing is showing my own kids that they need to take risks, try something new and have fun along the way. I am also growing and learning that taking risks and having goals is living. I have days in which I get home from work and think my co-workers must think I am the meanest person ever, my kids don’t want to listen to what I have to say and my hubby swears I moved things to test his patience. It’s on these days in which I have to chose to change the narrative. I have to find the joy, find the good, and realize that when I think these negative thoughts majority of the time they are not true (except of course when I try and test my hubby’s sanity). What’s your narrative? Is it laced with positivity or negativity? Do you live your life in a way that people want to sit and hear your stories? Until next time:

You don’t need to rearrange the stars or move mountains to be enough. You don’t need to have your entire life in order, or be perfect in any way. You just need to be able to offer love, and be willing to receive it in return, because that’s all anyone ever needed anyway.

Dane Thomas

Allow Spectacular

This week I bought a notebook. This notebook is small but I am hoping that it will be mighty. Over the last couple of months the ability for me to notice the good and look past the bad had been weakened. Not that I don’t have a lot of good going on in my life, but I wasn’t keeping my thoughts in check and so the negative that was “in the area” was seeping into the processes of my brain. I was allowing myself to focus on what was aggravating me and causing me to be annoyed. Since I had been in a place like this before I knew I needed to do something and do it quick. So the purchase of this notebook was the first step in my little plan. Each day I would make sure this notebook was with me and whenever something good happened, I would write it down. It took a day to remember that I needed to do this assignment, I needed to see it as a mandatory verses a “if I have time” type activity. The following is some of the highlights of the list:

  • A dear friend of mine had been thinking about some of the things I had been struggling about. She came to me and asked me a very important question. She asked if I was praying for the person/people that had been causing me stress.
  • Another dear friend noticed that my fellow co-workers and I seemed to be always on the go and decided that she would feed us. She not only brought yummy chocolate cookies but brought meats, cheeses and crackers so that we had something nutritional as well.
  • Every night my hubby has a hot dinner ready by the time I get home
  • When I work late, I don’t have to worry about what is going on at home because my hubby has it all under control
  • I have teens that are girls, from what I am told most teenage girls are not into talking to their parents. Mine talk to me and let me know about their day. They are excited to share what they are doing.
  • My son hugs me every morning and says ” I love you” and still lets me pray with him and hug him before he goes to bed.
  • I get to help animals, and pet horses and goats when I visit people at their homes.
  • Have you ever smelled laundry that has been hung on the line to dry. Pure heaven, almost as good as the smell of homemade brownies.
  • Zucchini brownies, I don’t need to say anything more.
  • It is still summer outside, it is not cold, and the temperature is still above 70 degrees. This is perfect weather.
  • There was a fire recently that was close by, there were structures that burned, but no one lost their lives and as far as I know that goes for animals too.
  • Have you ever really looked into the “face” of a sunflower?

These are some of the items that needed to be written down. Some were significant while others were just observations. There is a story that has been passed around for some time now that talks about perspective. Here’s the story:

There is a story they tell of two dogs.

Both at separate times walk into the same room.

One comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out growling.

A women watching this goes into the room to see what could possibly make one dog so happy and the other so mad.

To her surprise she finds a room filled with mirrors.

The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at him while the angry dog saw only angry dogs growling back at him.

What you see in the world around you is a reflection on who you are.


There is so much good in the world, but we overlook it because we get hyper-focused on the bad that is happening. We miss the field of sunflowers because there is mudpuddle in our path. We don’t take the adventure because there is too much work in getting to the path. We let our fears dictate how we live. We become like the angry dog in the story instead of finding the joy and the spectacular that has always been. Do you need a notebook? Do you need the simple assignment of looking for the good? Until next time:

I want to be like a sunflower. So even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the light.

Joyful Change

The Act of Living

Every morning my dog Charlie gets let out of her kennel. She finds the nearest toy, grabs it and jumps on the bed to show us what she has. She has this fancy wiggle that includes a prance that practically folds her in half while she works to not step on the rope part of her toy. She is so happy to see whatever human crosses her path first. She doesn’t care that she probably has to pee. She doesn’t care that she needs to be careful to not step on her brother Jorj who is trying to sleep for just a little longer. She just knows that her day has started and she has a toy. Her energy is like this most of the day, especially when her humans are home.

My eldest and middle daughters love to get her riled up. Charlie has chosen my oldest as the one she must “protect” so the girls use this to their advantage when they play. They pretend to hit each other and here comes Charlie to the rescue. The problem is, is that Charlie is a 50 pound scaredy cat. On that note why are animals that are scared called scaredy cats. Most cats I know will stand their ground and have little daggers attached to their feet, but I digress. Charlie can be in a deep sleep, and be there to “protect” in 2.5 seconds, but have me walk through the door with scrubs on and she runs to hide in the farthest room in the house. In her own special way Charlie has perfected the act of living. To be honest I think I should take lessons from her.

Every day we get to wake up and climb out of bed. We get to eat our breakfast and for most of us head to work, and for others they stay home to work or be with the kids. There are certain things we need to do to make sure our basic needs are met, but apart from these things we can chose what to do with our free time. A couple of days ago I was admiring the deck that a client had. She had this huge deck that had pots and pots of flowers that were lined up around the perimeter. If you were able to take your eyes off the flowers you would see that the view she had off the deck was just as beautiful. When I mentioned that she probably has a hard time leaving her house with all this beauty around her, she gave me this look, that made me think it was easier than what I thought it would be. She agreed it was beautiful but there was a lot of work that was put into at least the beauty that I was seeing near the house.

The act of living requires work. We have to put work into what we do daily. If we were able to be like my dog Charlie life would be simple but it wouldn’t necessarily be easy. For a dog who is a pet, they depend on their people for their basic needs, but they have to trust that when we leave them every day that we will come back. We protect them as much as they would protect us. These are not easy things to ask of our pets that don’t even understand most of the words we say to them. The act of living requires us to make decisions sometimes that are hard. The client I visited could have chosen fake flowers to put in the pots and would have had less work. Instead she put the time and effort in to create a space that she and her husband, friends and family can all enjoy. The act of living means turning off things so that we can turn on our imaginations.

On any given day I can find one if not all four of my family members on some sort of electronic device. There is Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram and more that will waste away so much of their lives it’s really quite sad to think about. I am not immune to this problem either. There are nights in which I have watched so many little videos I am sure I can make a cake while riding a horse through Disneyland. The internet has taken over the world, and information can be obtained about almost anything and everything if you just look. When the decision is made to turn off the devices though, my eldest daughter will draw beautiful pictures. My middle child will paint and find recipes to try out. My youngest will play. He will get board games out, and more often than not get the dogs outside. My hubby will tinker with his motorcycle, take it out for rides and has been known to build decks, playhouses and furniture with his own plans. When I get off my device, I color with crayons, write books, get random thoughts put into my blog and try my hand at gardening. There is joy in the act of living. Even if it’s simple, even if it’s not always easy. The joy is found when the act is acted upon. Until next time:

Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you watch, what you listen to, what your read, the people you hang around……be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, spiritually, and physically.


Mandatory Time Out

In the blink of an eye the trajectory of where you life is going can be misaligned. If you have kids you know exactly what I mean. There is nothing calm or collected when it comes to life. On the surface it can look calm but usually there is something that causes life to not be collected.

At work currently we are in the process of training up some newer people. They are asked to do certain tasks that when being watched can be stressful at best. When said tasks are not done in the manner in which they should be done and have to be repeated it’s hard on the trainee as well as the trainer. Most of the time people are harder on themselves than another person can be. What the trainee may not see is that the trainer is just as hard on themselves. We tear ourselves down so much for making a mistake or not being “perfect” in something we have done for years. We look at the negative first and then wonder why we can’t find the positive that is all around. It’s when the training moments start to get stressful that the person getting trained is given a “time out”. Instead of a nose in the corner, it’s a gentle voice that says “breathe, you will get this”. It’s getting out of the zone of trainer and realizing they are new at the skill and it will take time for them to be comfortable. They have to know they can trust you to be vulnerable enough to say “I don’t get it, or why am I not doing this the way is should be done?”

I have a teen who is learning to drive. She started out slow in the process due to the anxieties she had. We worked at overcoming those fears by starting slow and worked up to where she is now. She has a pattern that has been noticed in which she is most nervous when she is doing her first drive of the day. She knows it and we know it, so we don’t spring new stuff on her until she has done her first drive. A few days ago I had errands to run and places to go, so I thought why not get chauffeured around? Granted it was probably more like “Driving Miss. Daisy” in my daughter’s eyes but that didn’t matter to me, I was enjoying the ride. Part of the errands meant we had to go on a bypass that got up to higher speeds than what my daughter had done before. I could tell she was a bit nervous, but knew we had done the initial drive first so she was more comfortable behind the wheel. This also meant going into a gear she hadn’t used before (my hubby and I think it’s important to teach in a manual transmission), she wanted to practice getting into the gear while not moving so that when she needed to while moving she was comfortable. Needless to say she did great. We made it to all our destinations without issue, but boy did we both need a “time out” when we got back to the house. We didn’t feel stressed while in the car but we were both a little worn once we got back home.

A friend once reminded me that it’s up to be to take the time I need to find rest. People will tell us that we need to take a break, go somewhere away from people, have “me time”. They can even mandate that time is taken off (hopefully paid). It’s up to us to actually take the time and do what we need to get grounded (no pun intended). Kids everywhere know what “time out” means. When I was a kid my nose was put in a corner, usually until I remembered what it was I lost, or I came to my senses and apologized for what I did. As an adult, a “time out” means something completely different. It means finding a place in which you can process an event that has happened. It means going to do an activity that you have been wanting to do. It means putting the phone in an area that is away from you so that you can have a bit of freedom. It means getting away from the stressors of life for just a moment so that you can reconnect with the person you are. The difference of a time out as a kid verses a time out as an adult is choice. Kids don’t normally get the choice of a time out, whereas an adult can make the choice and follow it through. So as I sit here and write, I am out on my back deck. I have already spent time earlier this morning on a walk, watering the plants and doing my devotion. My hubby and son have come out a few times to see what I am up to, I am kind in this but I tell them I will be in shortly, my “time out” isn’t done yet. Until next time:

Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…..including you!

Ann Lamont


There are different ways in which we can feel threatened. It could cause us to sink into ourselves, question our faith, question the very reason we do what we do. To feel threatened means that the way in which we live our lives is being attacked. The attack hurts, and with most people makes trying impossible.

Change can feel like a threat. Confidence is in the eye of the beholder, and we are our own worst enemy. Think of the job setting in which a new person is hired on to learn how to do a job that another person has and has had for years. The new person wasn’t hired to replace the senior person but rather take on some of the workload and yet the senior person still feels threatened. The confidence is shaken, the self esteem is rocked, and there isn’t a need for it to happen. We tend to think we aren’t good enough if the company had to hire on others, we couldn’t make the cut, we fell behind in our tasks when it really isn’t so.

Our kids can threaten us to loose our minds. Teenagers take what’s left of our sanity, faith, thoughts, and everything else and dance on it like their favorite song came on and it’s on repeat. As a momma with two teenagers I have been blindsided so many times I don’t know which way is up. As I talk with other parents of teens I know that I am not alone in the struggle to keep going every day. Teenagers are threatened daily as they willingly go onto social media, and are told what they should look like, think like and act like. This isn’t so much a soapbox but a sad realization that there are no more secrets in this world. If someone messes up the whole school knows about it in no time flat, because of social media. As parents we try to raise our kids to use their brains, be polite, believe in the good and in God and we feel like we have succeeded until the teenage years hit and it is all thrown back into our faces. Here lies the feeling of being threatened.

The last thing we should do is back down when these types of threats occur. We need to know our worth, we need to know our kid’s worth. We need to know that the people around us have worth. We need to fight the assumed threat with a counter attack. When we tell ourselves that we are not cutting it, that we are lacking, we need to change our thoughts. We need to replace with encouraging words, thoughts and actions. We feel better when we do for others so why not do it for ourselves? That builds the confidence back up and quiets the threat.

We need to fight for our kids, fight for them on our knees in prayer. When they decide to do something out of the norm we talk with them, fight for them, and be there for them. Society will tell them how to be a certain way, but families can still teach them to think for themselves. It is not easy because they will still make choices that you don’t want them to make but if they know they are supported and loved the threat will be quieted.

I admit there were recent time in which it was rough for me as a momma. The decisions that were made and then voiced to me hurt my heart and made me want to turn and hide. There were tears shed but there were also prayers lifted. To the world the decisions wouldn’t be seen as huge but for me they were. All I can do is love, pray and support my kids. That’s all any of us can do for ourselves for each other, and for our kids. There is power in believing that love conquers all. With love comes joy. I hurt but my joy runs deep. There is my strength. I can love my family and the people around me because of it. Until next time:

Oh honey,

Don’t worry about being merely beautiful. Be bold. Be wild. Be strong. Be confident.

Be independent & intelligent. Be fierce. Be brave enough to be real in this fake world.

Redefine beauty.

Brooke Hampton

Unexpected Smiles

A couple of years ago I had a birthday. Actually I have a birthday every year, thankfully. This event was special because it was an ordinary day. I think after turning forty the thrill of birthdays isn’t as big as it used to be. The day (at least for me) tends to be just a day in which I add another number to the years I have been alive. So when my birthday came, I went to work like normal. Some of my close friends said “Happy Birthday!” when I saw them, but really it was an average day. What made it special was when I had gone back to the clinic after running some errands I was surprised with the biggest cheesecake I have ever seen. There is a place in town that make the most amazing cheesecakes and usually I just buy a slice of one of their cakes and enjoy for a couple of days because of how big the slice is. What came with this cheesecake was balloons. Big beautiful, colorful balloons. My boss had been called out of town unexpectantly and while away had arranged for a friend to bring these surprises to me. They made me bloom with an unexpected smile.

The feeling I had was like getting a letter in the mail as a kid. I absolutely loved getting letters as a kid. Usually it was from my great aunt in Nebraska, or from my great grandma in California. They were letters that talked about life, and they were addressed to me. They were a look into the world that was outside of my little world I lived in. I have saved most of those letters and from time to time I will get them out just to remember the ladies that wrote them and have a smile come across my face. It’s amazing how a simple piece of paper with words can make you feel at home and loved.

When I moved away and got married, I met people in the town we lived in. One gal in particular had the gift of giving out unexpected smiles. When her kids and mine were little they were constantly together (it helped that we worked together). She had the superpower of making people feel special. You know the kind of person I mean? The one that shows up with your favorite drink from the coffee shop, or offers to take your kids for a play date so that you can have some free time. Our job had us working with kids a lot. Since we worked with the kids we would also get to know their parents. There would be times when a kid would get sick, or get hurt and we would hear about it from the parents. By the end of that same day of hearing the news my friend would have a care package made up. She would then go out of her way to bring it to the kid’s home. She knew that power of spreading love.

Negativity has a way of coming into our lives. We can be the most positive, joyous person alive but still have to deal with negativity. We want to focus on what someone did wrong, we watch to see if someone will fail. We don’t like change usually and will look for what might go wrong because of the change. It’s a choice we have to make to look for the good, and to act on an idea of doing good. My boss didn’t have to organize a cake and balloons to show up for my birthday. Hand written letters have gone to the wayside thanks to texting and social media but that doesn’t mean they are obsolete. Our mailboxes tend to have bills and junk mail. I am not sure if someone would know what to do with a handwritten note, but my guess is they would have an unexpected smile after reading it. As for simple acts of kindness, those can cost us nothing but make us the richest people in the world. When you do something nice for someone else it doesn’t just brighten their day it will brighten yours too. We get caught up in the daily flow of our lives and don’t tend to think about what can be done to spread some happiness. Love your neighbor as yourself, the greatest commandment. Not easy but worth it. Until next time:

Raise Up A Child

As the pictures scrolled by and the memories flooded in, the amount of different hairstyles was enough to make your eyes spin. Three children with three different views of the world and among other things hair styles. When the girls were younger the only person that could get them to sit still long enough to do their hair in a cute hairstyle was their grandma. They had so many choices of hair ties and barrettes, and they had the cute hair that curled at the ends on it’s own accord, or for my middle child had ringlets falling around her face. My son had short hair most of the time unless we let it grow longer than normal then my hubby took it into his own hands and some weird haircuts were done. We figured it will grow back so why not.

As the kids got older their styles changed as did the way they view the world around them. We raised them to “love their neighbor, as themselves”, and to love people like Christ loved people. The world taught them that life is tough, and so we try and hold onto the quirkiness of life by enjoying life to the best of our ability. Years ago my girls came up with the idea of a “end of the summer slumber party”. We would invite their friends over to the house, buy some pizza, set up water balloon fights, and supply enough snacks and candy to keep them going all night. This was put on for a few years with one of the years instead of water balloons it was a nerf war obstacle course. Over time that activity evolved into a “girls day out” and a “man’s day, do what you want” day.

As parents we often think that we are raising up our children, and we are, but we forget that as we are raising them, they are raising us. As a parent one of my main goals was to have my children grow up to be good people, with good work ethics, who want to enjoy the world around them. The life lessons that were used to teach them these things were shown to them so they could follow the examples. On the flip side, they showed me that jumping in puddles makes for large splashes. They showed me that when you find a big hill on a bike ride, you ride up to the top of it so that you can fly. They showed me that trying something new like a salad made from spinach, skittles, cucumbers, and red licorice made sound gross but it’s worth a try (side note, it was not worth the try….gross!). They also showed me that if I gave them room to grow they would sprout exponentially.

Parenting is not an easy task. Tunnel vision can happen. There are times when what you really want to do is stick you head in a hole and hope that the current crisis passes quickly. It’s in these moments that your kids will teach you resilience. They will teach you that talking to someone about what’s going on is helpful. It is also in these moments when you dig a little deeper, you open your eyes and you take a deep breath, and you redirect the situation for a short time. One day as I walked through the grocery store I saw a bag of those water balloons that have the attachment that makes filling them up faster and easier. I bought a couple of bags of them. I didn’t have a plan for when to use them, but it turns out I didn’t need to. My son one day saw them laying on my dresser and gave me this look. The rest of the family had all been doing their own things when my son and I decided they “needed” a distraction. Our first victim was one of his sisters. We had already filled the balloons so all we had to do was draw her out. By the time she was soaked we had gotten my other daughter, my hubby and even the dogs in on the war.

These will be the things that will be remembered. These will also be the things that helped us get through the tougher years of raising kids. Kids are being asked to grow up too quickly. They have more ways to have the world shoved into their faces than ever before. Proverbs 22:6 says “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” Hairstyles and even hair colors will change but they are not permanent. When we are raised to love others as we love ourselves, that sticks with us. When we are raised to work hard but give ourselves time to enjoy life that sticks with us. Life is always going to be tough, but if we train ourselves to look for the good, to find the joy in the simple we will see that the hard times are more manageable. Until next time:


You will teach them to fly, but they will not fly your flight. You will teach them to dream, but they will not dream your dream. You will teach them to live, but they will not live your life. Nevertheless, in every flight, in every life, in every dream, the print of the way you taught them will remain.

Mother Theresa

I’ll Be Back In a Little While

To my family that means she needs a break and will be subjecting her body to a bit of exercise. Exercise hasn’t always been an out for me. I didn’t always like putting in the work to feel better. There were more times than not that I would rather eat my way through a much needed break, than “work’ through one. But then my go to started to be a walk in the neighborhood with my dogs. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to convince a dog to go on a walk? When it comes to my two all that is needed is the jingle of the collars and they are waiting at the door. Once we’re out of the door we get into a rhythm and start moving.

Some people use other tactics to wind down. I was driving into work one day and I saw this guy running down the sidewalk. He didn’t seem to be running from anyone or thing in particular, but instead had a vest on that looked to hold water with a hose attached to it that made it easy for him to get a drink as he ran. He was even looking like he was enjoying what he was doing, and so as I passed him I cheered him on in my head. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a part of me that gets excited when I see someone running because I used to run. There is a thrill to running, it’s you against yourself. There are goals that are set, there are finish lines to be ran over, and there is a “runner’s high” that needs to be felt. A few years back a client had walked into the vet hospital I had worked for and announced that she was in need of a running buddy. Unbeknownst to her I had be thinking about starting to run so I waved my hand in the air and said “pick me, pick me!” Not really but it was close. We started with weekly “runs” that were more walking than running. But as we kept going the walking times turned more into running times. By the time we had our “running career” going we had 5k, 10k’s and 1/2 marathons under our belts. For me, having kids slowed my running dates down, but for my friend she went on to do marathons and more. What we needed from each other was for one of us to say “pick me! pick me!”

The need to be there for my family was what fueled the next round of changes in my exercise routine. There no longer was a rush to be faster than I was before more more to be stronger than I was before. Mentally, physically and spiritually. As with most of us, work takes it’s toll on our lives. We can enjoy our jobs immensely but still be drained at the end of the day. So once again, exercise was the answer, at least for some of the problem. Exercising releases endorphins that help us feel better, we may have just pushed our bodies to the limit but we did it with a smile. When time is set aside to work out, it’s time set aside to create a healthier version of yourself. Going to the gym isn’t something that I have time for but I do have time to work out at home. Eating healthy (at least the way that it’s portrayed on social media) isn’t in the cards for me either, but intermittent fasting is. Finding what works for you will increase the chances of you continuing on in your fitness goals.

Physical exercising isn’t the only way to be stronger though. What excites you mentally? What pushes you to have a stronger faith? Do you have ways to work on your emotional health? I wrote a children’s book recently. My friend will create these doodles that have so much personality you can almost feel what she was feeling when she created them. My sister does bible studies with a friend and meets with her weekly. Another friend has chickens, a dog and a cat that seem to keep her busy and very happy. Getting our bodies moving has so many wonderful benefits, but that is only part of the picture. Setting time aside, even telling the family “I’ll be back in a little while” encourages us to do what makes us stronger, happier and healthier. Until next time:

Everything you need is already inside you. Don’t wait for others to light your fire. You have your own matches!


Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was not a care in the world. The most that had to be done was to be out of the house before my mom got the slightest inclination that I was bored, (she had a knack for finding chores that needed to be done around the house). Us kids would dig our way to china, climb walls, play hide and seek and ride our bikes all around town. We would end up at the house for lunch occasionally but for the most part knew to be home in time for dinner. The only change in this routine was when school was in session and that took up most of our days. There wasn’t a thing of social media and so when something stupid was said or done it was spread through the friend group but no further, and it usually took hours to spread vs. seconds. When someone was challenged to do something there wasn’t a video of it to upload, instead it was bragging rights told to anyone who would listen which usually just meant the siblings.

Once upon a time, life wasn’t any easier than it is today, but it was simpler. I feel as if I am a grandma talking to her grandchildren, but am instead a mom who is watching her kids grow up in a era in which everything is recorded and noticed and judged within seconds of something happening. Phones are in pockets and the fun thing to do is to see how long you can make a spam call last when they are asking a 14 year old about their car’s extended warranty. A friend once told me she felt lost when she would forget her phone at home and I remember feeling a sense of relief when empathizing with her as I thought about the freedom that held for me. I use my phone so much for work, and for life that when I chose to leave it back on it’s charger there is a sense of freedom, and yes even joy in knowing I don’t have to pay attention to it. It’s as if I am unlocking myself from it.

Once upon a time, can be now. Life isn’t going going to be easier but it can be made simpler. I have talked over the last couple of years about how dogs and cats have it figured out. They wake up, they eat/drink and do their business outside or in the litter pan. They play with their people or in the case of the cat ignore their people and then they find a good place to sleep. They live simple lives for the most part. We can follow their example in finding the simple. Just because we are “told” how our lives should be lived doesn’t mean we have to obey. We can chose to turn off the busy, but it’s a choice that has to be set as a priority. A couple of years ago I worked two part time jobs which meant I had Sundays off only. I started to tell friends and family that I would have my phone off. It was going to be my day. I would spend it how I wanted but there was not going to be outside influences allowed in. That was the start of the mindset of simpler times. I didn’t want a “once upon a time” storyline that talked about loosing myself in the busy.

When when my kids look back on their “once upon a time” they will talk about the social media influences, the anxieties that are becoming a common place thing, but I hope they will also talk about the simple days in which they played outside, road their bikes, played with the dogs in the back yard and went to the library for actual books. I hope they talk about the silly board games we played together as a family and the fact that when they did see something funny on YouTube that they were able to share it with their parents because their parents saw the importance of valued times with their kids. Now more than ever we have to chose to have simpler times. A good friend of mine gets out the markers and colored pencils after work to unwind from the day. Another friend is so creative with making cards. My best friend raises chickens and even tried out turkeys this year with her girls. It won’t matter years down the road how busy you were, what will matter is what you did with your time. Did you find joy in what you chose to spend your time on? Was there personal growth, family love, and time to smell the sunflowers? Once upon a time shouldn’t just be limited to fairytales. Until next time I want to share this quote that a friend shared with me:

And every day the world will drag you by the hand yelling: “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this! And this!”

And each day it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”

Iain Thomas

Are You Brave Enough?

As I sat one night going over the activities of the week, I had to ask myself “Am I Brave Enough?” This is a tough question to ask. It depends on the content we are talking about. What had recently happened to me was the publishing of my new kids book ” Rae’s New Shine“. I had created this book that for me, helped me see that I do have worth and that I bring value into the world. What this also created was an opportunity to share my book to the world. Now when I mean the world, I mean my own small little world as well as the internet. That is really a scary thought. It means I am sharing my thoughts with people who know me. It almost seems easier to share with the internet. Don’t get me wrong, the people that know me have been super supportive but it is still putting yourself out there to be loved or criticized. So in light of sharing my book I ultimately had to ask if I was brave enough to share my “baby” with everyone. It is a bit nerve wracking but in the end, to be brave means trying something new and go from there.

Now if I am talking about teaching my teenager to drive, I admit I really wanted to chicken out of it. There were times in which I suggested that she take her dad out too so that she could get a different perspective. Where in reality my nerves needed a break. Eventually I decided that I needed to be brave, I needed to be a cheerleader for her, and I had to teach her what it took to be brave herself. After time, and imaginary breaks being pushed we extended our driving reach from the local high school parking lot to actual streets. It took showing her in a safe spot that she could go about 20 mph and still stop the car if needed. Now if I could just get her to parallel park.

Being brave means saying something to someone that is hard to say. Now a days you have to carefully speak as some people tend to get defensive quicker than others. There are times in which that has to be thrown to the wind and words need to be said. Have you ever met someone that when a conversation is being had there are key words that can completely turn them off from listening? Now most of the time the describes teenagers in general, but what if it is something that is critical to this person’s wellbeing but they refuse to listen. This could be anything from a doctor telling his patient they have to take a certain medication to live comfortably and having them refuse because of fear, to a parent telling their 3 year old to keep all four chair legs on the floor so they don’t fall, and they proceed to fall because they didn’t listen to the warning.

Every day people step out of their homes choosing to be brave. They live with a certain lifestyle that goes against the norm, they are being brave. Someone who looks different from others decides to live a normal life is being brave. A teenager talking to her parents about a hot topic is being brave. To be brave doesn’t mean you don’t have fear. It just means you will walk past that fear constantly and just keep going. We wouldn’t have so many great inventions, conversations, products if the people that started them let fear rule. One thing is for certain, we will all go from this earth one day. While we were here did we choose to be brave or did we chose to live in a state of fear. I hope bravery is a constant in your life. I hope you life and enjoy the ups and downs of life. I hope you love, and love others. Where you brave enough to try? Until next time:

Oh honey, don’t worry about being merely beautiful. Be bold. Be wild. Be strong. Be confident. Be independent & intelligent. Be fierce. Be brave enough to be real in this fake world. Redefine beauty.

Brooke Hampton

The Influence You Make

Over the course of my life I have been around so many different people. There have been narcissists, to genuine people. When I was younger I was more willing to be influenced by the people I surrounded myself with because I was willing to believe that if they were doing whatever they were doing it must be ok. I mean why would I hang out with them if they weren’t the true deal? As I matured and got some life experiences under my belt I learned that in most situations people will do what is best for them. They will believe and act it a way that will benefit them. If by chance others benefit from what they have done, that’s great, but this is so backwards from the way we should be.

I often refer to the fact that we should be influenced and should follow along with the greatest teacher/leader there ever was. Christ Jesus influenced people. He did it not for His benefit but for theirs. He loved the unlovable and took people society would call outcasts and made them into people that society held with respect. These outcasts were no different than you or I. They would do things to benefit themselves and even their families. They would use their power (if they had it ex: King David) to further their cause. They would offer their help in return for shelter from the authorities in their town (Hagar). One woman even complained to Jesus about having to do all of the household chores while her sister chose to sit and listen to His teachings.

We have “influencers” today as you know . We all have seen one or two of them as they show us how to dress better, cook better, dog train better, whatever it is we sit for hours watching their little reels/posts. Our kids run to us asking yet again if they can show us this “funny” video. I can tell you I have watched so many videos on how to apply my make up like a professional, which is silly since I where so little make up you might as well say I don’t wear any at all. I watch parents and their kids dance to some popular song just so I can wish to dance like they do. I allow these “influencers” into my free space for the sole purpose of killing time. When I could be influencing my kids, myself, my family to do something better for the greater good.

The people I have around me influence me. I am older and wiser in knowing that I don’t have to believe in or do whatever it is they do, but ultimately little bits here and there get processed and stored in the back of my brain. The same goes for what I do and say around them. So as a Christian do I force my thoughts and religion onto those I am around? Of course not, but I also stand my ground when I don’t feel comfortable about something said or a situation in which what I believe is being made fun of. I would rather influence in the way Christ did, with compassion, and grace. He loved but didn’t accept wrongdoings. He would teach in a way that made the student think and come to their own conclusions. He would guide and be patient. There was no competition on who was more popular, who was more “right”, on who was “better for the part”. He was who He was without explaining Himself, without forcing.

When we chose to open our mouths in anger or in love we need to think about how this will affect the person receiving what we are dishing out. Sometimes they need to hear what is being said or see what is being “acted out” but in other situations they don’t. We are responsible for our words and actions. We are responsible for how we want to influence people, though we are not responsible for how they ultimately get influenced. Each and every day, hour, minute we make choices that can harm or help. Think about the best people you know. Why are they the best in your eyes? I can almost bet it’s because of the way they treated you, or the way they treated or talked to others. I can bet it’s not because of how nasty or mean they were. Think about that the next time you feel you need to make your presence known. Until next time:

Chase goals, not people

Celebrate your small wins

Take a break if you need it

Do something that makes you feel good

Learn something in everything

It’s a Beautiful Morning

The sun is shining, the flowers are in full bloom and my wonderful hubby has a wonderful way of keeping our house cool as the temperatures rise outside. I am a summer person, I love to be warm, though 102 degrees is a little too warm, you won’t hear me complaining about it. The touch of the sun as you step out in the morning can make you feel alive, like you can take on the world!

This morning, as usual we took our dogs out on a walk. Early morning walks have turned into such an important part of my day. It’s a way of waking up, getting the blood flowing, since I usually have my hubby with me, it’s a time to catch up. It’s also a time to dream. There is a magical time in between wake up, get up, the dog’s wiggle butts as they realize it’s walk time, to getting out and walking. Most people are still asleep, the world is quiet (other than the random big truck with the noisy engine), it’s a time to enjoy being alive.

Mornings do one thing, they bring on the day. When we roll out of bed we decide if we want to seize the day or let the day seize us. Most of us want to just make it through the day, we want to survive. To be caught in this survival mode isn’t thriving or truly living. What if at the beginning of each day we decide to find the good in it? This past week as my hubby and I went on our morning walks we talked about the future, we talked about work, we talked about the different stages our kids are in. In our walking though there were times of just being quiet and enjoying each other’s company. In these moments I noticed the new horse in the pasture that was a beautiful chestnut color. I noticed that at most houses there were random sunflowers that had popped up (gotta love when birds spread seeds). There is a certain house we walk by often that has this older dog who just loves to hang out on the front porch. We know the owner is a older gentleman too, so when we see the dog we smile knowing that both owner and dog are doing just fine.

Mornings are when at least for me, self care happens. I am a morning person at heart. I love to get stuff done so early. For my sanity I work out, for my family and friend’s sanity I work out. The best time to do that is in the morning. It’s cooler than the rest of the day, I have more energy to exert, and at that point the rest of my family are either sleeping (summertime), getting their breakfast going or in my hubby’s case scrolling through social media for the morning. Mornings become times in which I can do things to take care of myself, so then I can be there to help take care of others.

It’s a beautiful morning! How it’s embraced is how the day goes. I know struggles will happen today. My kids will disagree, the meetings I have may not go as planned, life will still go on. I know there are sunflowers in my future and a date that includes frozen yogurt though. I know that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I also know that the lyrics to this song will play over and over in my head. Until next time:

It’s a beautiful morning, ah

I think I’ll go outside for a while

And just smile

Just take in some clean fresh air, boy

No sense in staying inside

If the weather’s fine and you’ve got the time

It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day

Either way

It’s a beautiful morning…….

It’s a Beautiful Morning by The Rascals

Extension of Our Hands

Yesterday was a hot, dry day, perfect for a fun filled day at the waterpark. We packed up the beach towels, grabbed the water bottles, sunscreen, and hats and headed out. Our little town doesn’t have a water park with the big slides and “toilet bowl” ride (the one where you are on a tube and you shoot out of a funnel slide into a big “bowl”, but a few hours south of us there is one. So we left early in the morning and got there right at opening, with our handy dandy phone to tell us how to get there. Before we left though, my son came to me with an idea on how we could keep our phones with us and keep them dry in the process. Though the idea was good, I vetoed it letting him know we all could last a day without our phones attached to us.

And so we did. We paid for our tickets got our lockers and proceeded to place phones, towels, and basically anything other than water into the locker (we lathered up first with sunscreen, so as to not cook our skin off our bodies). We found our inner tubes and followed the lines up to the top of the slides, and within seconds were down at the bottom pools ready to go again. We soon realized that the slides that didn’t require the tubes were much more fun and had faster lines to go through. This whole time there was not a thought about the time and who posted what on one of the social outlets. Even my sister commented on how strange it was that we are so trained to check our phones that when we don’t have them it feels awkward, but here we were killing it as a family without phones.

Some people might say, “well what if someone had to get a hold of you?” or “you missed out on taking pictures to remember your day”. This is true, and I didn’t get all the pictures I wanted to get, and my friend who let my dogs out did text me while I was playing, but I still preferred not having my phone. I got to race my eldest daughter down the slides, just to reach the bottom in time to see her catch air. I got to splash my middle child in the face because she thought it was so funny to get water on my sunglasses for the tenth time. My youngest and I did the roaring rapids slide enough times that I lost my hat and glass at the bottom of the pool (I got my glasses back later, and my hat ended up floating to the surface). My hubby and I saw each other in passing and at lunch when we met to eat, but we were both having fun with the kids so we knew it was worth it. We ended our day with a family hug for my sister (she had to leave early since she had a longer drive home), and ice cream and Icee’s to cool us before climbing into the hot car for the ride home.

Our phones survived the day too, they probably didn’t even miss us, lol. It was so nice to be disconnected. Our kids were not stuck in “zombie land” staring at their phones watching other people have fun. We got to be kids together. We managed a few pictures before my sister left but for the most part the memories we made are not ones that were photo saved to be shared on a social platform, instead they will be ones that are talked about at the dinner table. They will be remembered the next time we do something similar as a family. They will be core memories, are good reminders that family times are so important. This is living joyfully. When the extension of our hands become someone else’s hand, or us holding on to our hats so they don’t fly off as we fly down the slide. There are so many times in which I go down “wish lane” wishing I was around more for my family vs. being busy else ware, but what this does is add guilt to a place where guilt isn’t needed. Doing activities with your family and friends means making time to do it. It can mean setting the phone down and getting out, but the rewards of making the time are awesome. My family and I were exhausted by the time we got home, but the consensus was that we had fun and we were defiantly doing more family activities again soon. Until next time:

The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements, but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem.

Walt Disney

Dreaming Life!

When my kids were little dreaming was something they did often. They would dream of having ice cream after dinner, often times they would dream of having ice cream for dinner. They would dream of having a certain toy, or even to play with a certain friend. They’re dreams were small but it was if they were born to dream.

As they grew up their dreams turned more significant. How wonderful would it be to catch the eye of a certain special someone? It would be so wonderful to have enough money for whatever it is they have their eye on. At some point the dreaming changes. We were made to dream.

What kind of life would dreams bring us? When we choose to dream big it means that we need to also be willing to work hard for the dreams we have. A few years back I had a dream of being a momma. This wasn’t something I remember obsessing over as a kid, but once I got married, the dream became more important and soon became a reality. My kids made my dream a reality, I work hard daily because of that dream and though the work isn’t easy, the rewards and love I get and feel daily are worth it.

Dreams are there too to help get you away from the day by day routines. I often dream of a day on the couch reading a book, but from that dream came the thought of writing a blog, from which came the idea to write a book. How scary to try out a blog in which people actually read it. Then to try and write a children’s book for parents to read to their kids, terrifying! We are given gifts and talents that should be used. I would never try and train a horse or cook a elegant dinner for my family because I know I do not have those gifts. I have friends with those gifts and I am so happy they do.

My daughter is so talented at drawing and working with kids. This her dream to teach suits her. I love working with animals and feel comfortable in my skills at writing and in my ability to encourage people. God made me to dream big, just as he did everyone else.

The choice is ours to follow the dreams we have. Some dreams may not turn out so well (I mean eating ice cream for dinner every night might end in a major stomach ache), others may be such a success that all you can do is thank God for His blessings and for giving you the gifts and talents He has. Dreams can take work, can be terrifying, but when followed can be so rewarding. What dreams do you have? Are you following them or just letting them collect dust on a shelf. My hope is that you step out in faith, do something different and work towards the goal. Until next time:

While you might be doubting yourself, someone else is admiring your strength.


Letting Things Fall Into Place

Life is so much easier when all falls into place. Life is also more fun when the water balloons and the ice cream come out. We had a full week of work, vacation bible study and appointments. To say I saw my family for about an hour each day last week is an understatement. Most of the days I would get off work to head to the church to volunteer in the VBS program. By the time it ended and we got home the kids had to get to bed and I had to fall into mine. This was also the week that there were multiple late night emergencies that needed to be dealt with at the vet hospital I am a nurse at. To top it all off my kids had the various appointments (dentist, PT, haircuts and such) that they needed to get to. Between my hubby and I we get them there, but there is definitely some planning that takes place.

By the time the weekend hit, and the last of the three emergency patients went home I could finally say I was done! The vacation bible school program was an experience to be sure. I was a teacher for the youngest set (3-4 year olds) who go and go and go until they can’t and then they just stop and for some just fall asleep while leaning on someone. The program had kids all the way up to 6th grade and let me tell you, getting all of the kids into the same room and letting them dance and sing was an experience in itself. They laugh, jump and sing for as long as the music plays. It will make a long day feel worth it when you get to go and have fun with kids and act like one yourself. By Friday though, when it ended, I was a bit exhausted and couldn’t wait for Saturday to come.

My middle child had caught wind that somewhere in the house was some water balloons. A while back I had bought one of those packages of water balloons that you hook up to a hose and like 12 balloons get filled up at a time. She had come to me with a plan, and being a bit of a child at heart I was all for it. Saturday was about getting stuff done around the house so that Sunday could be our play day. We try every weekend to try and do something as a family so this adventure would be involving the balloons.

Sunday came quickly, and with church done, lunches ate we decided that going out for ice cream would get the adventure started. The plan came down to surprise. We had to keep the family inside so that we could get the balloons ready and figure a way to get them out. My son makes these kind of attacks easy in the since we just tell him to come look at something outside and he goes. He was our first victim. Once he started yelling and laughing the others in the house came out and promptly became our second and third victims. The only ones that stayed dry were the dogs. We pulled out the hoses once the balloons were all thrown, and finished off the battle with the grand finale of drenching.

Sometimes it is just fun to be a kid. Put the responsibilities off for a little while and just have fun. Eat ice cream outside, fill the pool, have a water fight, play tag, run around barefoot, have dessert before dinner. Let things fall into place, and if you need to take a nap. Adulting is hard so why not let go every once in a while and let things fall into place. Until next time:

I don’t want to adult today. I don’t even want to human today. Today, I want to Goat. Gonna eat all day and head-butt anyone who tries to stop me.


A Part of the Story

This weekend had me thinking a lot. It was like I was thrown into this story line that I didn’t really want to be a part of but I had no choice. The Bible commands us to fear God, and follow His commandments. That is the what we as humans are to do. It doesn’t tell us to judge our fellow humans, it doesn’t tell us to make others feel guilty for their point of views, it simply tells us to fear God and follow His commandments. The rest is His job. The problem with this, is the world gets in the way. There always seems to be a problem that needs to be “fixed”. If someone is different than the crowed they must be broken. My question is this, if someone is “broken”, how can they go and fix someone else who is “broken”? They can’t, nor is it their job to.

The greatest commandment and the most important is to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Nowhere in this commandment does it say to fix or judge. There is no fear in love and it casts out all fears. Our lives are a story, they tell others who we are. God is a part of our story if we allow Him to be. We have that choice to say yes or no to Him. What a beautiful part of the story He is though if we allow Him to be, because He teaches us to love and to trust Him in the good and bad times.

When I was young there was no doubt in my mind that I would have Him as part of my story. I had people in my life who loved me and cared about who I became. I was always a strong willed person, but I also always had my faith to guide me. I had the solid foundation in which I could build my life upon. As an adult married with kids, this foundation kept me stable but did not make my life easy. My story was written to have thorns, to have pitfalls, and to have times in which I want to just say “forget it!” and turn away from my faith that makes being a member of society hard. Everyday I have to start my chapter for the day with a choice. Do I allow what I see on social media to harm my thoughts, my day my way of living? Do I decide to forgo the scrolling and head straight to my Bible so that I can learn and grow? Do I allow what people say during the day to affect the way I treat them? Do I love as God loves me?

A good friend of mine sent me a link to a song yesterday that I didn’t know I needed to hear. I had seen something on social media earlier in the day that really affected me and caused me to doubt. I felt as if I was in a plot twist and didn’t know who to talk to about it. When I finally realized my only person I could talk to was God, I went to my Bible and I prayed. I didn’t let anyone else know how I was feeling and how the post affected me. Throughout the day I received blessings and encouragements from out of the blue. Then finally when I got this link from my friend I knew that in all things God is there. He is carrying me when I feel He isn’t present, but He is still there. Life is not easy. The stories of the people around you are going to be different than yours. Yes there will be similarities but they will be different outcomes and reactions. My life is hard, but my hard may not be seen as hard in someone else’s eyes. When I watch my kids grow and make the decisions that they make, I want to jump for joy at some and at others I am fighting for them on my knees, all the while loving and supporting them through their decision processes.

I love to read, when I was younger I used to read these books that were detective type books where there was a problem that needed to be solved but the author made it to where the reader would choose one of two outcomes. So basically you would start reading the story, and then get to a point where you as the reader would make a decision, either turn the page and keep going down that plot line or turn to a page number specified to change up the outcome. If you didn’t like your choice you could go back and choose the one you didn’t originally chose. Our lives can be this way too, just because we chose one path doesn’t mean we can go back chose a different path. Not once was I ever told life would be easy. So I would not want anyone reading this to think I am saying that now. Life is hard. Creating your story is hard. Living your story is harder because other people’s stories are going to intertwine with yours. If you have a solid foundation, knowing that LOVE casts out all fear, then there is hope and yes even joy in knowing you are not alone in your narrative. Until next time:

You absolutely have to become ok with not being liked. No matter how loving or kind you are, you will never people please your way into collective acceptance. You could be a whole ray of sunshine and people will hate you because they like the rain. So just do you.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.    Ecclesiastes 12:13

Just Fix It!

Have you noticed that the harder you try to fix something the worse it gets? My lovely daughter for the Forth of July wanted to make some cookies. She asked me what kind I would like and started right in. The cookies turned out amazing, when she started to work on the homemade frosting, things started to fall apart. She wanted to know what color I wanted so I said yellow. The yellow turned to orange, which eventually turned into this burnt orange color which was all due to her putting into too much of one color in. Then due to not whipping the butter to the right consistency the end product was more of a soupy sweet mess. Needless to say, she started over. She tried to fix the problem she was having, but instead of getting better it progressively got worse until she had to try again.

This was a small issue that didn’t cost her much other than time and a few ingredients. When we did a remodel on our house, floor joists were ordered based on measurements taken. What wasn’t taken into account was that our original house was not quite square. So when the joist arrived and the workers started to install them, they ran into the problem of them not going in properly with what had already been put in. When different attempts were tried to get them to fit, new joists had to be ordered. This was a costly mistake that could have been avoided but was eventually made right.

Mistakes happen, problems pop up. Life is never perfect, and finding ways to problem solve will be essential. Problem solving can be fun. It can be a time of growth and development. It can be frustrating if you let it. Currently as I write this I am in the process of trying to publish a children’s book I wrote. It’s not that the process is hard, it’s that it is time consuming, there are a lot of stumbling blocks that I have to hurtle myself over. I love this challenge, I want to make this happen. I have to be creative, and find ways to set time aside to just get it done. The only person I will hurt for procrastinating on this is myself. This is not a bad problem to have to fix but it is one that feels like I am climbing a steep hill to get it done.

In each one of these scenarios the option to give up is there. The self dialog of “it’s too hard, or I’ve messed it up too much” is there, but so is the silence button. We learn and grow from making mistake and finding ways to fix them. People don’t become experts at what they do by sitting idly by hoping that someone will come along and fix what’s before them. They keep going, trying different things until something finally works. When my kids were younger and learning to walk we didn’t let them give up the first time they fell on their bottoms. We would keep picking them up, we would encourage them, and they would finally get it. They would become masters at walking, instead of giving up the first time they fell. In some ways we as adults need to copy the younger generation and keep getting up. Keep trying even if it’s hard, keep listening to the encouragements, keep going. Problems won’t fix themselves, we need to tackle them over and over again, and learn from each time we try, so keep trying! Until next time:

Most people don’t want to be a part of the process, they just want to be a part of the outcome. But the process is where you figure out who’s worth being a part of the outcome.

Carey Lohrenz

What’s Your Environment?

Usually when I get on the road to start my day, I think about the appointments I have, the tasks that I have to accomplish, and of course the normal everyday things you think about. I tend to do this often especially when the drive is a longer one. I don’t realize the underlying stress that comes with doing this, because it is so normal to me. I have even had coworkers in the truck with me that will get the random thought pass through my lips about some case that happened the day before. I get into work mode and forget that I can just enjoy the ride. What an environment I created!

One of my favorite things to do is to sit out on my back deck and read. It is peaceful, it is warm and I have my own slice of nature around me. Some homes I have visited just exude peacefulness. It’s as if there is a line that is crossed from my truck to their front door. One client/friend has a house in the middle of nowhere (or so it seems) the she and her husband built. The have a long drive that ends at their 3 story log/stone home. You are greeted right away by their donkeys, and then as you park you will get a glimpse of their two peacocks and the pair of geese waddling away. Their spiral staircase leads to the second story that has windows that overlooks the land beyond. The home invites you to stay as well as it’s owners. They have made their “environment” inviting and open.

Another friend of mine has this cabin in the woods. To be honest, just thinking about it spreads a peacefulness through me. As much as I love this cabin I love it’s owner’s more. Their “heart environment” is open, and loving. They are the kind of people that will be there for you. They are strong in their convictions, are kind, loving, and have an inviting way about them. When I visit with them, there is a security in knowing I will not be judge and I can be myself.

All too often my “heart environment” turns cynical instead of loving. I am working on this. When I think about the “environment” I am offering to people I would love for it to be joyous, loving, and a place where they feel safe to be themselves. I can only offer this environment if I have made it available to myself. The only way this can happen is if I chose to let it happen. I have to chose what I allow into my life. I have to chose what I get upset about and how I react to what upsets me. My kids love to see what will ruffle my feathers. At one point they told me they brought up things to me just to see what my reaction would be. When I am at work it’s the hardest for me, since I expect certain work ethics which I sometimes get. I have to chose to give grace and know that my expectations may not be my coworkers reality. I may have different work ethics then they do, doesn’t make one wrong over the other just different. Christ was a leader and He had expectations of His followers. His “heart environment” was joyful, loving and gracious. He is the only example that should be followed when it comes to the kind of “environment” we put out there.

Our “environments” can show people who we truly are. Striving to be the kind of person someone feels comfortable with is goal worthy. When we are stressed, cranky, rude and insensitive people feel it. When we are not genuine people feel it. True colors shine through when you are patient enough to wait. When there is a deep joy, a peace and a lifestyle of acceptance and love, there is strength in that. People feel that and want to be near that, like a good book on the back deck being warmed by the sun. Until next time:

Everything you need is already inside you. Don’t wait for others to light your fire. You have your own matches.


Enjoying Along the Way

The alarm clock went off but we were already awake. Charlie was pacing in her kennel waiting to get out and pounce on the toy that was right outside of the door. Jorj lifted his head slightly to look back at me eyes inquiring if it really was time to let his little sister out. Every morning is like this, the alarm goes off, Charlie paces waiting for the moment the door opens, and Jorj seemingly rolling his eyes. We walk them early only because it is the perfect time to get out while the neighborhood seems to still be sleeping. My sweet hubby and I have a chance to talk about the day, the dogs have a chance to smell and re-smell the yards that we pass. We all get our exercise, and to be honest it charges us up for the day.

As we got back to the house there were a lot of things to get done. We were getting ready to go on our annual camping trip to the coast so that meant packing, repacking and checking the list over and over again. To make matters a little more interesting I still had to work for half a day while Tim and two of our three kids left to start the journey west. It is very hard to stay focused on work when you know there is a campfire and crickets waiting to be enjoyed. By the time my middle daughter and I left we had a shopping list of items that were forgotten, a full tank of gas, and the air conditioning going.

One of the things I love the most is getting one on one time with my kids. This time I was blessed to have my middle daughter with me. I was taken to a mythical land were clans of cats co-exist and try and out smart the humans that are trying to take over their homes. There were cats that were in a river clan who lived on an island, there were cats in the wind clan that were agile and fast. Each cat had a certain look and backstory. She described what each looked like and why they were important in the land. We talked about her competition and if she thought she did well and when the conversation ended because she fell asleep I felt so special that I got to have a chance to see the inside of her world. As we pulled into my in-laws house for the night, we unfolded ourselves out of the car, grabbed our food and enjoyed relaxing for a bit, until I suggested we go for a walk.

The walk turned into a bike ride, which meant going up a hill. Lets just say we made it half way up and then had to walk the bikes the rest of the way. We are both in shape so I will blame it on the ice cream we just ate. Getting to the top was so worth it though, because that meant we got to fly down that same hill. There is something about going fast and having the wind in your sails. The thrill of it makes up for the work it takes to get up the hill in the first place. After two more times of “thrill riding” it was time to finally settle in and just relax. The vacation officially starts when we get to the coast but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves along the way.

Tomorrow will bring picking strawberries, watering the plants, doing the last minute shopping, and picking up the surprise cake for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. My daughter will finish her competition and then we will be on our way to the best little campsite in Oregon (at least in my mind). There will be conversations and naps, there will be the anticipation of pulling into our designated camping spot for the week. The nieces and nephews will be happy to see us as will my other two kids, the hubby and the dogs. It will be a time to not think about life and just relax. It will be the best that it can be and I can’t wait! Until next time:


Most of your stress comes from the way you respond, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude, and all that extra stress is gone.


If Only…

As she looked in the mirror and saw the flaws in her body and face she thought to herself “if only”. If only I wasn’t as chunky, if only my eyes were blue and my hair wasn’t starting to turn grey. If only my arms were more fit and my waist was more slim. If only I was smarter and more talented, then maybe, just maybe I would be happier. The critical thoughts hit their mark, making her feel unworthy to do the day ahead, so she fell back into herself and found activities to keep her mind off of what she thought of herself. What she doesn’t realize is the critical thoughts she had for herself are not just hurting her, they are hurting her future self, her family, and the people around her.

What if all of the things she was saying to herself were spoken out loud? What if her teenage daughter overheard her saying these things? What if her husband did? The self criticisms are already screaming at her in her mind and now the people she loves just heard them as well. We are what we choose to be, what we want to believe about ourselves. So if we say we are ugly, then we believe we are. If we say we are not smart, then we believe we are. That doesn’t mean the people around us believe that. What if that teenage daughter thought the world of her mom and looked up to her for how she wants to live her life? What if the husband thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world and so very smart? And now how he feels about her is thrown back in hi face?

We all have our doubts about ourselves. Things we want to change, things we wish were different. We were made with a purpose though, and those things we want to change and that we want different should not define us. We are our own worst critics. Some ladies were overheard at a restaurant recently talking about an event that happened at their job. One of the ladies was feeling bad about getting upset at a co-worker. Instead of allowing the gal to go further about feeling bad her friends gently reminding her that she is not perfect. That sometimes getting upset needs to happen but it needs to be done respectfully. We are not perfect, which means we need to give ourselves grace.

Some of the best people I know if my life accept who they are, flaws and all and encourage others to do the same. Their lives are not perfect and they are ok with that. I imagine when they look in the mirror they have a different conversation with themselves. I would think they would say things like: “Today is going to be a good day. I will do my best, and I will think the best of others. I will encourage those around me, and I seek out ways to be a blessing to someone I meet. I will love as Christ loves me.” Then they will apply that eyeliner, straighten their outfit and head out into the world. This would be the conversation I would love to have with myself each and every morning. When I look at my family and listen to their conversations, I pray they know they are special. When I have the conversations with myself in the mirror I try and replace the criticisms with affirmations not just for my family, but for myself. How can someone love others when they can’t love themselves?

If only we were kinder to ourselves, then we could be kind to others. If only we saw our bodies as works in progress rather than failures to keep up with what the world says, we would love our rolls, and respect the greys we earned. If only we decided to take care of ourselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, we would be able to love who we are more, thus making it possible to love others. If only we could be selfless instead of selfish, acknowledging the world doesn’t revolve around us. The “if onlys” could define us or confine us, the choice is ours. What “if onlys” are you facing? What would happen if we encouraged who we are vs. discouraged who we are? The world needs more people who are encouragers, who accept people for who they are. We need families that love each other, and support the differences. We need the love that Christ teaches us in 1John 4:7-11:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Until next time:    

First, know your worth

Second, control your emotions

Third, never settle


Winner or Loser

The last days of school are upon us, and most schools do “field days” on the second to the last day of school so that class parties can be on the last day. These field days usually consist of running the track, jumping over hurdles, bean toss games and so much more. Most events are team events in which someone is picked as the leader who then gets to chose who is on their team. As my son was talking about this he made the comment “I wonder if I will be a winner or a loser”. When I asked him to clarify the statement he said you’re a winner if you are one of the first few chosen and a loser if you are a part of the last few kids chosen for the teams. My first response was “oh this is so sad” but in the world of kids this is how they see the choosing process. The kids are not winners or losers in general, but when it comes to what they are being chosen for this is how they are divided up.

In our adult world I would love to say that we are not this way, but we are. It’s different in the sense that it’s no longer winners or losers but is the person going to be difficult or not? Will they have a different view than us? Are they fun loving, and positive? Do they try and stand out or fit in like camouflage?

Think about this for a moment, when you are somewhere like work, and you are with a group of people that flow well together and get stuff done. What happens when the next shift starts to come in, or there is a new person that is getting trained up? The atmosphere changes, the flow is no longer smooth. The change creates a ripple, one that makes the task at hand not as simple to accomplish. When I first started in the vet med world, I was the one causing the change. I was working my way up from picking up poop and cleaning cages to working alongside some of the greats (in my mind) of the vet tech world. The two ladies in particular could have chosen to label me a “loser” someone who would make life for them a bit harder because they would have to train me, or they could do what they did and labeled me a “winner”, someone they saw had potential to learn and grow. When they gave me a chance it made me want to be better, focus more, and learn as much as I could.

As I watch my kids grow, and mature I see them move from the elementary school mentality of “winners and losers” to a more mature way of thinking in which they form educated choices about who needs encouragements vs. who can do things on their own. My middle daughter joined a club early on in the school year that dealt with engineering and science. While in this club she made a friend who became her teammate in a competition they had. The two together became a force to be reckoned with. They encouraged each other, bounced ideas of each other and held each other accountable for things as simple as did you eat food today to as complicated as building a working model for their project. They made each other “winners” by supporting each other.

Negative thoughts and actions create a atmosphere in which people don’t want to go near. People don’t want to be around others that will drain them. When there is a person that blames the world for their problems people shy away from talking or being around them. They would be the ones not chosen for the teams. As hard as it is, they have to create the change needed. They have to want to change. Everyone has their issues to deal with, their “crosses to bear”, including the ones that seem to have it all together. There is comfort in knowing that Jesus says in Matthew 11: 28-30:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Each and every day we make a choice. We label people worthy or unworthy by they way they look, what they can offer us, what their political or religious views are. The list can go on and on, but the thing we have to remember is that the same people we are labeling are labeling us as well. So what do you want to be known for? Think about that this week. It’s not really about winners or losers, but about who we are and how we chose to act in this world. Until next time:

Don’t forget to love the way you want to be loved, listen the way you want to be heard, give the way you hope others give, care the way you want others to care, because change doesn’t start with them, it’s starts right here.

Madalyn Beck

What’s in a Name?

Back when I started in the vet world I worked at a hospital in which the main vet was called “Doc”. The vet that came on a couple of years later got the nickname “T”. For these women the nicknames were endearing to them. Names identify who we are. Our parents took the time to pick the name and give it to us. It gave us a place, and then when we were given nicknames it determined how important we were to the person who gave them to us.

I absolutely love having Grandma Mary in my life. She has been in my life for as long as my kids have been alive, plus a couple of years. She started out as “just a friend” to being such an important person in my life. She took me under her wing and allowed me into her world, and her family. Her husband became dad, her boys brothers. Over the years I called her Grandma Mary or Momma Mary so much that others started to also call her that. These are terms of endearment for me towards her.

We do this to our pets too. We call our dog their given names less than we call them by the nicknames we have placed on them. My dog Charlie is Baby Girl, Charlie-girl, Puppy, Little Girl you get the idea. She comes to all of them, has no clue which one is her actual name but we love her enough that she gets these names. Jorj, Lilly and Kiki all have numerous names (our other pets) and it would be so simple to just keep with the actual names we gave them but they are what we use to describe them/their personalities.

My hubby and I did this with our kids, heck we did this with each other. I know I have really messed up when he starts calling me by my real name and not the pet name he has given me. Our kids are not as lenient on what we can call them now a days but when they were younger they were probably so confused on what their actual names were. This is probably why now they have limited us to only certain names we get to call them.

On the flip side it drives me absolutely crazy when my kids are mean, and they decide to call each other things like “Boy! or Girl!” In that small gesture they have taken away the identity of the other person for a moment by refusing to use the name given to them. We have such a hard time in the world today because people don’t know who they are. They have been “that girl, or that person” so long that there isn’t a value given to who they are. A Bible study I participated in a while back talked about how we are known by name by God. We have a purpose and are loved. We are important as a person. It doesn’t matter if I am a mom, or a single woman, or a nurse or a friend. How amazing that I don’t have to prove my worth to be known.

In life we are known by our accomplishments. I visited family a little bit ago and for some reason I felt the need to tell them the accomplishments of my kids vs. just saying my kids are doing well, they are loving life and they can’t wait for the summer to start. Christ knows my kids, but he knows them where they are at. With the struggles they have and the blessings that they are. Christ knows each one of us too. To him I am a daughter doing life the best I can, trying to emulate what I know about Him. I make so many mistakes but they don’t change my right to be called His daughter. That gives me worth and creates a value in me that helps me get through the day to day of life. It is that fact that gives me my self worth. Our names are important, our worth is important, and should never be taken from us. Until next time:

All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgement and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.

Brene Brown

Help or Hurt

As I was doing my workout this morning, you could tell the trainer loved to talk. He was a very positive person and I am sure if I was actually in the same room with him his energy would be through the roof. Sadly though this was a recorded session on an app, but even with that fact I could feel his energy. As he we was talking he talked about working out our thoughts and words too. He made the comment “when we meet someone, we could do one of two things: help with our words and actions or hurt with them. What a thought to ponder at 7:30 in the morning, but it is something to think about. This thought process goes for the words we don’t say but still are thought when with certain people.

Have you ever been in a work situation in which a new person shows up for their first day, but you have already heard from someone else a negative thing about them? They may not be your words but the words of that person but they still “hurt” this person. Without them knowing they have to actually work a little bit harder to earn the spot on the team. They unknowingly have to work at proving themself more. On the flip side when there is only positive said about a new person, people are willing to believe this person can only do good. The positive words have helped.

My daughter and her team mate won a competition. They had been working on their project for most of the school year. When they were getting ready to present their project they were confident in their work. We as her parents supported her as well as the teacher and their school. Our actions and words helped lift them up. They now have a chance to present their project to a panel on a national level. You can just feel their excitement. What would have happened if they hadn’t gotten the support they got? They could have gotten as far but I honestly don’t think they would have tried as hard to do their best.

When someone believes in you, you can feel it like a warm blanket. The troubles of life won’t melt away but they are easier to get through. Liz was this person to so many people. Liz’s life was not an easy one. She was successful in the eyes of most people. She owned her own business, helped in the community, knew the ends and outs of getting people to notice new businesses or events. She had a way with people that made them know their thoughts were important, and that they were heard. It seemed as though there wasn’t anything that could get past her way of living, other than her physical health.

Liz had numerous health conditions that would have caused the normal person to crumble. For Liz they were like her super powers. She never let them stop her from her many endeavors. She went as far as doing the Iditarod with her top notch crew of huskies. When she finally succumbed to her health issues, her memorial was filled with people who had been touched by her encouragement. Her words and actions encouraged and helped people to find their strengths, learn new skills, start new businesses and love unconditionally. We need more people like her in this world.

Our brains tend to go to the negative in life and about people. We lock onto what we have heard about them, or what is going on. We want to make the situation or person seem worse than what they are to help make ourselves seem better. We judge before we know someone, and think the worst of a situation before we know all the details. Our thoughts when we are not in control of them can spiral into a spin of negativity. We can train our thoughts to be positive and when we do our outlook becomes so much brighter and full of joy. We are healthier, happier and willing to believe in the good of others. We are called to love one another. We have never been called to hate. Our words and actions will lift others up or cause them crash and burn. We are in control of what we do and say, so why not make them positive. Think on this quote and I hope to talk with you soon. Until next time:

Being rude is easy.

It does not take any effort an is a sign of weakness and insecurity. Kindness shows great self-discipline and strong self-esteem.

Being kind is not always easy.

When dealing with rude people. Kindness is a sign of a person who has done a lot of personal work and has come to a great self-understanding and wisdom.

Choose to be kind over being right and you’ll be right every time, because kindness is a sign of STRENGTH.


What Chapter are You In?

We have all had those books that we can’t seem to put down. The plot is thick, the main character is about to make a discovery, the truth is about to be told. You just know if you place the book down it will drive you nuts not knowing what will happen next, and so you keep reading as the time slips away. Then there are the books that aren’t that great but still need to be read because then you can move on to the next one in hopes that it will be better. Over the years I have had plenty of both.

Reading is a way to pass the time but what if the book was about your life? What chapter would you be in right now? I love to think about my kids that are in grade school on up to high school. They have so much going on but their lives are just starting. Their lives would be like a mystery novel in which you know the plot but there are so many twists and turns that you become captivated by what could be coming up. Each one has their own story to tell, with each chapter influenced by the world around them. The story becomes more of a living breathing book vs. one that is just pages between covers.

As we grow and mature so do our stories, but the places and events that have happened previously color what is happening now. This is what helps bring the story to life. But what if the plot as we know it starts to get lost. We get so busy, we start out on a certain path that changed somewhere down the line. We became someone we don’t know and lose what we thought we knew. When I was younger I knew for certain that I would be a Christian, who went to college and had a family after I graduated. I did things my way, and thought I knew what was best. As I matured and had accomplishes and struggles the storyline changed. I wanted so badly for the story, the plot to stay the same but experience, people and the world created new chapters in which new adventures awaited. The vibrancy of the words were created by the experiences of the past.

If we saw the people around us as stories being told vs. people to be judged, would we desire to keep reading or toss the book aside because we don’t find it interesting. Ohh the impact this could have! Some people could be as simple as a children’s book with a moral at the end of it, while others are as complicated as a textbook. The world is our bookstore. We browse the shelves picking what we find interesting, so that we can find a place to start reading. My favorite bookstores are the ones in which cozy little nooks are created. They are there to help us get introduced to the story in front of us.

As I finished the most recent book in my Kindle library I pondered the fact that the characters in the story would be great people to know. Though they were fictional they became a part of my life for a short time. I dedicated time to them, I cried and laughed with them. I felt the tension and the pain they dealt with. Their struggles influenced me, even though it was for a short amount of time. My world moved forward without me as I moved forward with the characters of the book. I hated the people they hated and loved those they loved. I wanted to protect who they protected and got to be the “fly on the wall” of their lives. The story made the characters come to life. Our stories make us alive to others. Others come alive to us more when we hear their stories. When we know people’s stories, what made them who they are, it helps us to be who we are, and vise versa.

Who is in your library? What stories did you choose into your life? Did these stories, these chapters cause you to not want to put the book down, or did they make you realize the story is not for you? If the plot feels lost at the moment, it may be time to put the book down but only for a moment so that someone else’s story can help get yours back on track. Until next time:

Sometimes we lose the plot of our own story, sometimes for years. We’re not sure who we are or where we’re going or what the point is.

Then we run across someone who helps us pick up the thread of our narrative again.

Be patient. Some plot lines take a while to make sense


Cloudy with Sunshine to Follow

Darkness can only go away when there is light to banish it. The shadows can hide the unknown, but when light is shined into the dark places the fear of the unknown is taken away due to the unknown diminishing. The world has always known fear, uncertainty, and lack of trust. We hear things on the news and go to social media to confirm it. We look at someone who looks a certain way and we cross to the other side of the street. We hear something about someone or some business and think the worst. Instead of looking for the good we navigate to the ugly, the bad. We live in our darkness.

Some live it the grey, it is still a form of darkness. It is like the clouds that appear from seemingly nowhere to block the sun. Our town is known for this type of thing. We step out to beautiful sunshine to have clouds cover it minutes late with a downpour to follow, with sunshine seen just a little ways off. When we live in a grey world we want to have the light but still feel the need to see the world with mistrust. In the last few days there have been awful things that have happened. Lives have been lost and the people that loved the lost have had their lives changed forever. People who were blissfully living in the sunshine, were thrust into the cover of darkness like clouds being blown in by the wind.

In our darkness we need to look for our light. Faith helps guide us, love will sustain us and joy will give us the strength to make it. The little pops of light along the way will bring the warmth needed to defrost us. So how do we find our light? Look for the little things, they will get us over the big things we are battling. This morning I woke up to my Charlie dog so happy to see us awake. She is kenneled at night and when she is let out in the morning she grabs a toy, jumps on the bed and prances around unable to control the wiggle of her tail. She is the light. While at work on Friday I noticed the poppies had started to bloom. These flowers are bright and orange and are the light. My daughter worked really hard on a project, she was given an opportunity to do more with it. We as a family got to celebrate with her and encourage her. That is the light. A coworker had helped in a difficult appointment, when it finished we realized we needed to talk about it which helped us both deal with what happened. That was light shining through.

To me these are the rays of light shining through the storm I am in. My neighbors storm is different than mine and so his rays of light will be different as well. Both of our storms will bring forth life and light. We can appreciate the strength of the storm by seeing the outcome of it. So live because there is no other choice. Go out knowing that storms will come, darkness is there but so is the sun and light. Brighten some person’s day. When you can be the light for someone else, darkness has no way to be there. Until next time:

Don’t forget to love the way you want to be loved, listen the way you want to be heard, give the way you hope others give, care the way you want others to care, because change doesn’t start with them, it’s starts right here.

Madalyn Beck

That’s Not My Job

I cringe just saying those words. When we feel as if we are too good to do a job, then we are too big for our britches. I love to hear of the stories of people who started from the “bottom” and worked their way up to the position they are in. It somehow makes the job more worth it. It most cases it also humbles the person, making them willing to do any job that is put before them because they know it’s how they started out.

As a momma I hear this statement a lot from my kids. My hubby and I have set up a chore list that gets changed out each week, but there are times in which one of the kids will be asked to do something that is not on the list and this is when these words come out of their mouths. It’s a teaching moment for us parents to show them that they can help out the family unit even if they are asked to “go above and beyond” but it is a struggle at times to keep from getting upset when they flat out refuse to do the task. But then when isn’t it a struggle to raise kids. It will humble the most proud of people and at the same time make your heart swell with pride when they show initiative and do something without asking.

All too often I hear the words “it’s not my job” rolling around in my head when I don’t feel adequate enough to do the tasks set before me. This could be parenting, this could be in friendships, in confrontations, in life. I want to hide behind these words when I have feel inadequate, but it’s in these moments that I need to look to the one that is adequate and see where He wants me to go. I recently wrote in my journal about feeling threatened, but not in the normal way people would think. In the threat I faced it was about my inability to see my worth and so I started to see my way of life being threatened by change. I started to doubt my knowledge and skills. I started to think that the people around me didn’t want me around as much so replacements were being sought after. I was being threatened by my own toxic thoughts. The way I imagined myself coping with these thoughts was to spout “that’s not my job” when I knew what I really needed to do was change my thinking. In the children’s book I wrote called “Rae’s New Shine” (coming soon, email me if interested in purchasing), Rae lost her shine because she didn’t feel her worth, she had to change the way she thought of herself in order to get her shine back.

Our “shine” gets blemished constantly. The world throws us curveballs all of the time. If you have teens it’s almost on a constant basis. But if we ground ourselves in knowing who we are, and not what we are (i.e. wife, mother, cook, taxi driver…etc) we can get our shine back. God calls us sons and daughters in Christ. He doesn’t call us “what we do for a living in” in Christ but he does use our talents to help others. We may not be doing the job we thought we would be doing, and we may say “that’s not my job” a lot whether in our minds or sadly out loud, but we are still in the place we are in because we have been put there for a reason. Every day I give my kids back to God, I pray for them, and I love them to the best of my ability. I was not called to be their parent alone though, I have my hubby, friends and family but most importantly I have God who has boldly said “that is my job” He says that to everyone in all situations but we need to chose to say yes to His declaration and stop saying “that isn’t my job”. There is peace in knowing you don’t have to be in control, there is joy in knowing God is. Joy is strength and with strength comes the ability to be humble and do the tasks in front of you. This is living joyfully. Until next time:

All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgement and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.

Brene Brown

It’s Coming, I Can Smell It

There is something about the way fresh cut grass helps encourage summer to come, at least in my mind. The smell brings me back to my childhood when the weekends were spent doing things outside. My parents perfected the routine of kicking the kids out in the morning knowing we would keep ourselves busy until the sun came down. If we were not playing and going on adventures with friends my mom would drag out the old lawn mower and place one of us behind it to mow our corner lot. The mowing wasn’t the only thing we had to do, there was edging the lawn and weeding the “garden”. Try as we may our garden had more weeds than flowers but what we did get to grow was resilient to say the least. Most weekends us kids escaped before we were put to work, but not always. Normally on our “work” days the day ended with a BBQ where we ate it outside.

By the time I went to college and had a house I shared with 5 other gals I was a pro at yard work. I didn’t always like it but when I took on the yard that surrounded our house it became more of a calming practice for me. I loved to get head phones in and just start mowing. For a college house we had a huge yard. There were pockets of flowers, trees everywhere and an environment that boasted rain and lots of it. The grass always needed to be mowed. The smell of the fresh cut grass calmed my sometimes turbulent spirit. I used the time outside monotonously going around and around to talk to God. There were in depth conversations as well as conversations about what I had going on for the day. I always seemed to get energized too. The sun has a way of doing that, especially if it hides behind clouds and coastal mist most days. The college I went to was known to have classes outside when the sun was out. It could be colder than snot but we would be out there, basking in the sun’s rays.

I don’t much mowing of our lawn now a days unless I am helping my hubby get caught up on chores. I am hoping that the garden my daughter and I are trying to grow will succeed. So far, the sprouts give me hope. It’s amazing how memories from our childhood can make everyday moments seem better. We get busy, life happens, we get overwhelmed with events around us. I stepped out from work today and found the yard was cut. Some sweet soul came and took care of the jungle that was growing up around our building and it smelled divine. The stress of the day melted just a little bit as I stood eyes closed letting the sun hit my face. We need these moments of peace. We need to stop and enjoy our surroundings. We were not made to go, go, go. God made the world around us so that we may enjoy it, use it for the needs we need met, and to take care of it. He did not make us to run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, if he did the world around us wouldn’t be something for us to wonder at.

Wonder at the rays of the sun and the warmth they bring. Wonder at the fragrance of the flowers that pop up in the fields. Wonder at the way a bird can glide through the air but use the wind to get them to their destination with ease. Wonder at the way a storm can bring a double rainbow. Wonder at the way a fresh mowed lawn can make you want to pull out the lawn chairs and absorb the energy of the day. We are made to wonder, to enjoy and to praise God for the beauty of it all. Summer is right around the corner. I cannot wait to get “sun tired”. I cannot wait to step outside and not be cold. I cannot wait to stop and smell the grass…..oh and the flowers too. Until next time:

Butterflies cannot see their wings, but the rest of the world can. You. You are beautiful and while you may not see it, others can


Colorful Sprinkles

Every morning no matter if it is 6am or 7am, when there is movement on the bed our puppy Charlie gets the tail wagging. She is crate trained and so she sleeps in her crate at night, so mornings are one of her favorite times. She watches for movement of any kind from my hubby or I and she starts with this quiet whine. Then when she sees that it’s working she starts the tail of happiness. Slow and steady at first and then when the door opens it is full force wag. This isn’t her only weapon of choice. She has to have a toy, it doesn’t matter which one but she must have one. Then it’s all out waggle time. Her tail wags so hard her butt moves with it. Then as she is waggling her prance around the room with her toy in her mouth finishes off the routine. Most days we are up and getting ready to take her for a walk with her brother Jorj, but weekends, weekends are the day of snuggling in bed before starting the day.

Charlie is the best kind of alarm clock. It’s not always easy to want to get out of bed much less get the day started. She makes it that much easier. She is my morning sprinkles. My son had his birthday party this last weekend and requested cupcakes. So as he and his friends were carted off to the movie theater to watch his chosen movie my daughter volunteered to make the cupcakes. At first she was going to make the cupcakes black since my son likes to play Dungeons and Dragons but the end result was pink. Go figure? When I asked what happened she said she decided to go with red but got pink instead. The fix to the pink was to add sprinkles.

Sprinkles at the pop to the top of a cupcake, they had the pizzaz to the hot fudge sundae, they are the fun to the whip cream on a fruit smoothy. When we interact with people we can be the sprinkles on top. During tax season one of the businesses has a person out near the road that holds a sign telling people to come in and get their taxes done. This person is suppose to catch your eye with the sign and with their movements. Most of the time it was a person standing there that looked bored and cold, but on most mornings as I drove by I would see this gal just seemed happy. She waved at people but she did it with a smile. That’s adding on the sprinkles!

We do our day by day, day in and day out. Most of us have our routines. Parents work to get kids ready for the day, men and women get ready for work all the time. Kids navigate school, friends, peer pressures as best as they can. Let’s face it we all have stress in some way and capacity. It’s not easy to be the sprinkles for someone else when you feel overwhelmed in your own life. You know what though? Actually adding in the sprinkle time will make your day better too.

This weekend was full of things that needed to get done. It was also full of cupcakes with sprinkles, cornhole with my son and his friends, and a surprise visit to an airport and hour plus away just to see my sister and her hubby before they hoped in a rental car to get to their final destination. This weekend was very tiring, but I am a happier person because of the fun I got to have with other people. I got to be sprinkles for others. There is a time and place for everything. This includes going out of your way to do something fun or special for someone else.

Charlie is an automatic sprinkle spreader. She can’t help it. We can become an automatic sprinkle spreader with practice. Smile at someone you don’t know. Look someone in the eye. Call a friend and say “Hi!” Text someone who may be doing something hard and tell them they are doing a good job. Make some cookies, try a new recipe and invite a friend over. Walk the dog (yes even dogs at time needs some “sprinkles”). There are so many ways to spread joy. We just have to get past what our tunnel vision is to see where more joy is needed. Until next time:

Kindness and joy are free, sprinkle that stuff everywhere!

Oh I know them!

It’s funny sometimes the amount of people I think I should know living in a small town and working in a field in which pets are involved. I walk into the store or go to my son’s baseball practice and realize I don’t know very many people at all.

While at work today it was a different story, I felt like I was at a friend reunion. I saw people I haven’t seen in months while others I had seen a few weeks ago. Knowing people can be a status symbol though. People love to throw names around of people they know that are important in their eyes, when in reality the people are just people who have a certain job or lifestyle.

A friend of mine started her new job this week. I saw her today and saw someone who was unsure of her environment because she was new but knew that once she was able to open up she would do amazing and her co-workers would love her. In my mind she is important and valuable, but if I were to introduce her to a new person they wouldn’t necessarily know that until they got to know her. Something I learned years ago is that those who are known for doing something important in societies standards don’t always want to be put on a pedestal.

This sweet couple I met a few months ago had this awesome dog. The dog was older and not doing as well as he once did in his prime and so when it was time for them to say goodbye to him I was honored to help them. The wife was this sweet gal who wanted to make sure that her husband was supported during this hard time, and was very comforting to him. The husband wanted to make sure his pregnant wife was supported and got the help she needed when their dog needed help going outside or getting cleaned up. They both took care of each other and loved deeply. They came in to our hospital recently with a new dog. They had to wait for some results on tests so they opted to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. This is where I met up with them. They both were as sweet as ever. I gave the gal a big hug and was introduced to their new fur kid. We caught up for a little bit and then I had to head inside.

This couple hold jobs that society deems as important, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to being kind and being loving. When it comes down to it, people are just people. We should treat them as such. Having friends who are pastors, doctors, teachers, stay at home moms/dads, receptionists…etc. It doesn’t matter what their title is, know them for them, not the job title. In a world that deems you important by how many people you know or how much money you have. Being the loudest and the proudest is seen as the best.

The most important people in my life can be loud, and sometimes are too loud, but what really stands out about them is the quiet. The acts of kindness they do for others. The humble nature they have. Their willingness to help others. When I think of these people I proudly say I know them, and it’s not for what society deems important but for what the heart deems as important. I love to say, “oh I know her, she helped me when my husband was oversees” or “oh I know her she was a stronghold when I had younger kids and now that they are older she keeps me sane”. I love that I don’t need to say things like “see that guy, did you know he’s a doctor? I hung out with him a few times” or ” that gal sitting there, did you know she owns that store downtown?” Whose important in your life? Why? Is it because of status or because of the person they are? Staying humble and true to yourself will attract people likewise. Until next time:

You are already amazing, you are already worthy, you are already enough, you are already deserving, you are already blessed, you are already healthy, you are already abundant, you are already loved.

That’s all you need to remember today



What is it about fears that make us so irrational? Having a healthy fear is not bad, it keeps us from doing stupid things like touching a hot stove, or jumping in front of a car. When the fear becomes bigger than our willingness to do something it has too much power.

When I was a kid I loved to play with spiders. I would sit on the front steps and watch them make their webs. I would bring them dinner at times too (though I stopped that when I felt bad for whatever insect I caught tried to get away and couldn’t). As funny as it is I even had a “pet” daddy long leg that lived in my family’s shower. Spiders were not a bad thing in my mind until I saw the movie ”Arachnophobia” in the movie theaters. From there on out spiders had a scariness to me. I could be close to one, if there was one over my doorframe I couldn’t leave the room. If I ended up squishing one, I had to quickly get it off the bottom of my shoe just in case it was still alive. I remember one time helping my best friend clean out her garage and we found a black widow in a box. We burned the box. I have no idea what was in there but it didn’t matter. When I started working in the vet world, a tarantula was brought in for being sick. That was the day I felt brave.

When I couldn’t get it to let go, I admit I was almost in tears until the doctor I was working with “saved” me.

This is just one of many fears that are out there. I have a family member who is afraid he’ll get left behind or forgotten if he gets dropped off somewhere. Some people are afraid of heights, others are afraid of going too fast (like on rollarcoasters). Sometimes there are rational reasons why people have these fears. Some people feel that you can condition these fears out of people. I don’t really know the answer and sometimes it can be frustrating when dealing with someone who is overcome by one of these fears, especially when you can logically show them they’ll be ok.

The Bible says there is no fear in love. We were not put on this earth to be fearful. We are to live. We are to share with others. We are to love others. We can’t do these things if we are constantly allowing a fear or fears keep us planted where we are. When my kids were younger I tried to show them what it was like to take healthy risks. So they learned that helping others was ok. They learned that doing sports was ok or taking dance lessons was ok. They saw their dad and I take risks, we were scared sometimes but we didn’t let fear overpower us.

As I am sitting at my son’s baseball practice, I am watching him be brave. This is out of his comfort zone. He thought he would be playing on the same team as his best friend, but instead he is on a team that he didn’t know anyone the first day. He has mandated that I wait at the field for the whole practice due to another fear he has, but even if I couldn’t stay and watch, he has shown that he is ok. My best friend has to be brave, she has fears coming at her left and right. Her daughters look to her for guidance and she happily gives it to them. I know she has said ”no” to the, before when it comes to trying new experiences but it is rare. She does not have an easy life but she does not allow her fears to stop her from living her best for herself and her family.

Fears are roadblocks we put in front of ourselves. They either have the spikes that deflate our tires or they are ones that with a little extra strength we can master and overcome them. I pray for my kids often. I want them to have strength that comes from joy which ultimately comes from love. There is no fear in love, and love has joy wrapped around it. This is where we get our strength, our patience, our boldness, our humility. Imagine how much better our lives would be, our world would be if we allowed love (joy) to rule us instead of our fears. Until next time:

Negativity is contagious. Unhappiness is contagious. Fear is contagious. But so is happiness. So is optimism. Some is love. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. And strive to be a reflection of what you want to receive.


Best Laid Plans

Ahhhhh, the weekend is here, time for things to get done. The work week was long, after work meant family time and of course the ever present game practices, church and other “outside of the home” activities. Weekends are to get caught up on life. There’s a lawn to mow, a garden to plan, and meal prep for the coming week. This was the plan, we were supposed to stick to the plan. Until we couldn’t, enter the stomach bug.

All was good Friday night, then early Saturday morning my stomach said some things that shouldn’t have been said. It protested and cried, so I protested and cried and ended up on the couch most of Saturday, trying to figure out what I did to make my stomach so mad. I have some thoughts of what happened but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter, I had to nurse my poor stomach back to health. So the plans I had were laid aside. Step in my family. My family is pretty wonderful as it is. We don’t always get along, we fight sometimes but when push comes to shove we pull together to take care of each other.

My hubby stepped in the most yesterday. My eldest daughter had to go to work, which is usually something I do, but he made sure she got there. I slept. My son fed the animals and played with them, I slept some more. My middle child laid low so that I could rest, which I did. By Saturday night not all of the things we wanted to get done got done, but I was given the time to rest, and food was brought to me when I felt I could eat it.

Sunday I was much better and all those plans for the weekend didn’t all get done but that’s ok. Sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to get this or that done. We already have the pressures of work, family and life why do we feel the need to add more? We are one of the only countries in which it is a status symbol to be busy, to be worn out. How is this a good thing? No wonder we have more illness, more anxiety, more irritations. Don’t get me wrong, we need to push ourselves, but we also need rest. I was talking to a gal the other day that at one point had too jobs, her husband worked and she was homeschooling her kids. There is no break in that. I couple of years ago, I was doing that (other than the homeschooling part) and I was WORN OUT! At that point I realized that I needed a rule. So I set a rule that said the weekends were for me and my family. I didn’t work, I didn’t take phone calls from work (and almost anyone else) and I did the stuff that needed to be done for me and my family.

This rule isn’t 100% guaranteed to be set in stone, but it did make were best laid plans could be altered. Family trips could be planned, and I could be me without the stress. Sometimes it takes mentally telling myself to turn off parts of my brain so that I can be creative, fun and there for myself and family. This week is promising to be busy again. I thrive in busy but only because I know that I have a break coming at the end of the week. Best laid plans are just that, plans. Rest is needed and very important. How lovely to thrive to be more stable: God/family/work/rest. I for one don’t want to be know for how busy I am, I would rather be known for how kind I can be, how joyous I could be, how loving I could be. How about you? Until next time:

Be the kind of person who isn’t afraid to ask someone if they are ok twice, if they say they are, but look like they aren’t. Be the kind of person who smiles at people even if they don’t smile back. Be the kind of person you wished for when no one was there for you. Be the kind of person who is brave enough to stand alone in a crowd for what is right. Be that person because we need more people like that in the world. Be that person because people like that are rarer than the rarest diamonds and gold.

Nikita Gill

Inner Dialog

A few weeks ago I wrote a book. I geared it to be for kids. I wrote it for people like me. This book sits in my computer’s saved file. Will it ever see the world? Time will tell. This book is about self worth. About finding your shine. It’s about being strong when you don’t feel like it. It’s about being kind when inside your head you are not kind to yourself. It’s about being bold enough to still go on in with your day even if everything feels off. It’s about being humble but still acknowledging that you have worth. It’s about being proud of the things you have accomplished without being full of pride and thinking that you are better than anyone else. It’s a book that I should read daily.

Be Strong, but not rude.

Be Kind, but not weak.

Be Bold, but don’t bully

Be Humble, but not shy

Be Proud, but not arrogant

Jim Rohn

Our brain is a wonderful thing. It will adapt to the thoughts we have. If we make it a point to be more positive and to think more positive we will start to have a more positive outlook. We all know that person who seems to go through life not letting anything really bother them. They seem at peace with the world around them. They don’t have an easy life per say but they have chosen to take it day by day, hour by hour. On the flip side we all know that person who seems to have a chip permeantly on their shoulder. Life is hard, people are hard, nothing is their fault and the world owes them something. Two ends of the spectrum and most of us fit in the middle. We have good days and we have bad days.

Our inner conversations are what guide our outlook. When I first wrote my book, I needed to hear the words that I had written. I good friend of mine had confronted me about not being approachable at work. She knows me pretty well and can tell if I am off, even if I don’t know it myself. She is also the person that will tell me I am good at what I do and that I am a good person. She is an encourager with a hint of realism. She doesn’t let my head get to big for my shoulders if you know what I mean. What I took from her conversation with me is that I don’t know my worth. My inner conversations with myself hold doubt, fear, mistrust in some people, and pride. My inner conversations also hold love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. What I chose to listen to is how my outlook of myself becomes.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him (Jesus) because He first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19

We were made who we are to be who we are. Our thoughts we have can be changed to joyful, encouraging thoughts. These then can be used to create a community in which we lift each other up. God made us in His image, God is love, and so we are love. There is no fear in love. Fear brings in self-doubt, a prideful mentality, a tear down of who we are, jealously and envy towards others. Love brings the opposite. It helps us to be bold, humble, kind, proud, strong. We need to be love more than anything else in this world. It will make us shine! Until next time:

Six ethics for life: Before you pray-believe, Before you speak-listen, Before you spend-earn, Before you write-think, Before you quit-try, Before you die-live

William Arthur Ward

Spring Joys

This week was filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, all a part of life in general really. I absolutely love the spring season. The flowers and trees start to bloom out, I start to get excited about the upcoming garden that I know will just be amazing this year (despite not having a green thumb). Life just seems to come alive again after the cold winter months drive it into hibernation, or for us humans inside where it is warm.

This spring season brought baseball into my sons life. He wanted to start playing because his best friend was playing, so we signed him up. We went out and bought him the gear. We talked to his best friend’s mom and made plans for them to go to their practices together after school. We arranged the calendar and our lives to be busy every weekend until summer. We were set. Winter took our plans and shook them up a bit though. After the teams were made (my poor son ended up on a different team then his friend) and the first practice was to take place, storm number one came to town. And just like the postal service, rain or shine the kids practiced. I stayed in the car where it was warm. My son is at his second game today. It really is fun to watch the kids learn and grow in a sport. It’s fun to sit in the bleachers and dream about how far your kid will get in the sport they have chosen to try. It’s fun to cheer them on, even if at the moment their only goal is to try and hit the ball.

My “garden” was started a few weeks ago with some seeds from the local store, some raised beds build for the garden out front and some high hopes that maybe, just maybe this year I will have more than just one cucumber and a head of lettuce. I have a secret weapon this year though. My middle child said she wanted to help. She went with me to the store, helped build the beds, researched with me on how to start the garden inside so that we could transplant them outside. She even offered to keep up with the watering of the seeds. We were smart enough to make a backup plan though. Self watering pots! They have been a lifesaver, seriously, I think we have seedlings purely for the fact that they were put in the self watering pots. It’s easy right now, the plants are inside. After Memorial Day they’ll get moved outside, which means out of our line of sight. Dear Lord, I hope we got sturdy plants!

Spring has a way of putting a “spring” in my step. I get energized, and feel like I can take on whatever comes my way. Joy comes bubbling up. There are times when it feels like life in general has seasons. I have heard people describe times in which they felt they were going through a cold spell, or a dry season. Spring is new life, new opportunities, new joys. My husband loves to hang clothes on the line, it brings with it a smell that just emulates joy. Today he turned the heater off and opened the doors and windows. There is a slight breeze but the sun is out at shining bright. The temperature is still a whopping 60 degrees, but it feels heavenly compared to the wind/snow/rain/20 degree mixture we have had the last couple of weeks. The dogs got to go on a run this morning with me, the yoga mat was thrown aside, instead the deck was my yoga place.

Joy comes in the small things sometimes. The smell of laundry hung on the line. The crack of the ball hitting the bat. The garden that is starting fresh. The sweet nap of a happy puppy. There will always be highs and lows in life. Even when you feel you can’t find the joy in the moment, you just go into your memory bank and think of the smalls that have brought joy to your life. The memories won’t fix the lack of joy but they will help enhance the moment you are in. Until next time:

The things you believe to be your limits will disappear as soon as you move closer to them


Sizzle in the Air

Ruth woke up early just as she did every morning. She had the goats to feed, and the donkey and her colt had to be let out into the back field to graze. She knew if she didn’t hurry she would miss out on the breakfast her mom had already started to prepare. Ruth dressed quickly and splashed some water on her face hoping it would help her to wake up. Once outside the coolness of the morning woke her up the rest of the way. The farm always seemed busy, always had some sort of smell and noise that came along with it, and today was no different. Once her chores were done she went inside just in time to see her mom put the last bowl on the table.

The rest of the day was Ruth’s so she went to go see if her friend Sarah could play. Ruth knew that if her dad or one of her older siblings caught her doing something that wasn’t work they would put her to work as quickly as they could. She was very good at not being seen, which seemed to work in her favor. As Sarah and Ruth played they noticed a large crowed coming down the road that led to Jerusalem. The townspeople also noticed and stopped what they were doing to watch. Sarah and Ruth were so curious they ran to the road to get a closer look. That’s when Ruth noticed the donkey. It looked really familiar but when Ruth noticed a man sitting on it she thought it couldn’t be her family’s donkey until it got closer and she saw that it was. The donkey was the colt her family owned so why was this man riding it? Ruth ran home to tell her dad what she saw. When she walked through the front door she heard her brother telling her dad that when the two men started to untie the colt, he asked them what they were doing and they said “The Lord is in need of it” and so he let them take it. How odd she thought, but what did she know she was just a child. Little did she know how the world would change in the days to come.

Still pondering what she saw the day before Ruth did her chores again, but this time she noticed something different about the day. At first she couldn’t put her finger on it until it hit her, the world seemed quiet. Not a normal quiet, a quiet in which even the animals didn’t seem to make a noise. It was almost as if the land and all living things did not make a peep. Not only was that strange to her but there was a feeling in the air like all things were holding their breath waiting for something to happen. Ruth wondered if it had to do with the rumor heard about the man she saw on her family’s donkey yesterday. She overheard her neighbor say he was charged with doing something awful, but didn’t understand the word used. How awful it would be to die on a cross! Whatever was going on created a current in the air like when lightening is close by, it was enough of a fear for Ruth that she decided she was better off inside with momma.

Dinner that night brought only talk about what was happening in Jerusalem. It seemed to be the only thing on everyone’s mind. The man hung on the cross was said to only be a carpenter from a small town but he was charge with saying he was God’s son. The only thing that was talked about more was the strange things happening all around. The darkness, the earthquake, it all seemed so strange. By morning all seemed to be “breathing” again. The world woke up energized. As strange as the day before being silent, this new day was louder than any time Ruth could imagine. It felt as if even the rocks were making noise. The talk now around the village is that the man that was hung had been buried but this morning the guards woke to the tomb being empty. How could that be? Even when Ruth asked her momma she was surprised that a grown up didn’t know, but Ruth knew even as a child that her life would never be the same.

Easter Sunday brings shouts of “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!” Easter is the hope of all Christians, it gives us hope in what is to come. It’s the day before when Christ was buried that should be noticed as well. The world was silent, God was silent. It’s as if all living things had collectively sucked in a breath and held it, waiting for the “what’s next?” to be answered. To have the collective release of that breath the next day with the empty tomb. God was silent, but he was still Present. In the times in which we feel alone or when life feels like it has left us mangled and beaten we may feel as if God is silent in those moments but He is there. We just have so much noise going on in our heads, that we miss the quiet movements of strength surrounding us. Easter is hope, and in that comes joy. Until next time:

He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.  Come and see the place where he lay     Matthew 28:6

That’s Not What I Wanted To Hear

When I was younger it never failed, I would get up in the morning, run to the standing heater and try and wake up. While in the midst of trying to warm up/wake up my mom (who had been up for hours) would start to list off the things she wanted me to do that day. It would take all my willpower and strength not to growl and spear her with daggers coming from my eyes. I definitely did not want to hear what she had to say. She wasn’t purposely trying to have me glare at her but she was already in “go mode” for the day and was subtlety trying to get me there too.

My dad did this too but in a different light, whenever we went on vacation to Yosemite National Park (which was almost every summer of my childhood) he would let us know that every other day while there we would be doing a hike. Most of the time these hikes were all day and meant that we would have to get up early and do a bunch of switchbacks in the sun. I know there was grumbling and growling going on, but it never changed his mind, and we always ending up on a mountain.

As time went on, and my family grew my kids were receiving the same treatments I got. When chores were not getting done, there would be reminders. When we went on vacations that had mountains involved we would end up on a hike. When school work needed to be done, we would tell them about the reminders we would get emailed to us. These were things they most definitely did not want to hear about.

One of my hubby’s favorite things to say to me is “next time….” and then he would tell me a way I could do something better next time that I had talked to him about. He never meant these “next times” to be annoying, he actually would be trying to help, but man would I get so upset when he threw the “next time” in there. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say, because that meant that I didn’t do it good enough the first time.

The people we have in our lives are there to help us, whether it’s to help us see we need to move on or move up in our own growth. When my momma would list off the chores I needed to get done she was teaching me responsibility. Yes, letting me wake up would have been better, but I learned that she trusted me to get done what she asked. When my dad told us of the hikes we were going to do, they sounded nearly impossible for someone that was “young” but those are the memories I cherish the most. If I would have refused to go and defy him I would have missed out on the packed lunches on the side of a river. I would have missed out on the views of the valley on top of a waterfall. I would have missed time spent with my family that instilled in me the importance of family strength. Don’t tell my hubby this but if I would have just set my pride aside and listened to his “next times” I would have had an easier time doing some of the tasks that I was doing.

This past weekend was Palm Sunday. Jesus was going into Jerusalem on a donkey. The religious leaders were telling Him he needed to quiet His disciples because they were celebrating too loudly. They did not like that they were seeing the Old Testament prophecies coming true before their eyes. Because they did not like what they were seeing and hearing they were going to miss out on what Jesus was offering. They had no power to change what was happening. They tried everything, and would be ordering His death soon. Even in that, the most unthinkable thing to happen, would not stop what Jesus was doing, and they would miss out because they did not like what He was about.

I would hate to miss out because I didn’t like what was being said, or if I didn’t like what was going on. In my life I would have missed out beautiful views because of a hard hike. I would have missed out on learning because I didn’t want to open my ears to listen. I would love to say that if Christ told me to go I would go without hesitation. My faith isn’t as strong as I would like it to be though. I am getting there, I am trying to listen and I am trying to obey. I would hate to find out that I missed out on something so life changing all because I didn’t want to take the time to stop and be still while He whispers. Listening and hearing are too different things. Listening and acting on what we hear is what shows maturity and humility. Who wouldn’t want to have these qualities? Until next time:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.     Romans 15:5


There was just a little time before the next appointment came in. There were phone calls to be made, medication scrips to be filled and hospitalized patients to be taken care of. There was questions to be answered and receptionist to get back to. Online orders to be filled and so on and so on. To top it off my oldest texted saying that she was not feeling good and I was thinking how bad would it look to have my hubby take off to get her from school when it’s his last day of work. I had a tow truck company scheduled to “break into my work truck” to retrieve the keys I locked inside decide that they would come earlier than scheduled and “oh by the way, is there someone that could meet us at the truck?” The list could go on and on especially if I added in the last two days but I won’t. I can’t even say that I am upset about the events that have been happening, I can say I am a bit overwhelmed.

None of the above is meant to be complaining. Most of this is what happens on an average day at this thing called life. When days like these happen the cracks that might be in the exterior shell of my sanity can either grow bigger or they can be held tight by the strength that is found in the deep down joy that has been given to me. The struggle is real, when choosing to complain or choosing to celebrate in the trials. It is so much easier to go along with the crowd and find the negative. When there is that one person that is always used to place blame on, it makes the blame that should be yours “easier” to bear.

This past weekend my daughter and went to a training at our church. We are a part of the children’s ministry program teaching the “educated toddlers” as my daughter calls them. We have the joy of spending every other Sunday with 3-4 year olds. Man if there is a class that can teach you about joy or complaining it would be this class. While doing our training though we were being taught how to teach the kids we were with, but the main thing was to show them they are important and loved. As the pastor was talking I thought about what it meant to show the kids I taught that they were important. This sent be down memory lane to when my dad used to work in the toddler room at the church we used to go to.

Growing up, my dad was the breadwinner, he would go to work every day, come home and would want to relax. We knew he loved us and he tried to show us in different ways his love. Sometimes it was small gifts he brought home, other times it was having us play the computer games with him. He was our solid foundation. We knew dad would always be there for us and he was. As we got older and started doing our own things he started to work in the church toddler room. He would usually show up before the kids got there and would get the toys ready, and as they started to get dropped off he would say hi to them and then go back to playing with the toys around him. Eventually the kids would notice that he was playing with toys and go to him. A lot of times they were unsure, but every time he worked he would do this same thing. As time went on the uncertainty of what he was doing wore off and by the time the parents came to pick up their children he had kids in his lap, and kids sitting around him all playing with the toys he himself had been playing with. He showed the kids in that classroom love by consistently being there, not being pushing about what he was doing and patiently waiting for them to come to him.

His method worked almost every time. He told me once that he started to work in the toddle room more and more to give the kids there the attention he would have loved to have given us when we were younger. My dad did his best when we were kids. I can bet he was overwhelmed more than we knew and he never let us see it. When my dad was in that room full of kids he loved on them, and let them know they were special to him. He showed them who Christ was every time he showed up.

This past week was overwhelming, this past weekend it would have been so nice to skip the training grab a book and stay in all day reading. Instead I went, I learned, I grew and I was blessed. I was able to learn again from my dad. I was reminded that the God I serve is so humble that he had a “triumphant ride” into Jerusalem on a donkey colt that had never been ridden. There were so many times that Jesus could have said “I am too overwhelmed for this” but he didn’t. The strength he had to go through all he did was from the deep down joy He had and the ability to show us we are important and loved. How great is that! We don’t have to do this alone. Find your strength from the joy inside you, it’s there you just have to allow it to permeate your life. Until next time:

I don’t want to adult today. I don’t even want to human today. Today, I want to Goat. Gonna eat all day and head-butt anyone who tries to stop me.


What’s your worth?

One day a young lady woke up and she knew something was different. She got out of her bed the same way, made her breakfast the same way and got ready for her day the same way. Something still felt off. When she stepped outside to walk to school that’s when she first noticed the difference. Though the sun was shining it never let it’s rays fall on her. All the people and places around her were surrounded in the sun’s rays but she could never seem to get warmed by them. It was like she was walking with a cloud or a shadow above her. When she got to school she thought for sure the lights inside the building would shine on her like everyone else, but sadly even inside there was a dimness around her that only she could see and feel. She tried to ignore what was happening. She tried to go about her day as if she were the same as everyone else, but eventually the dimness started to get to her. She started feel anxious and fearful that maybe something wasn’t right. She didn’t know what to do and she hoped that the next day would be normal again. Sadly though, the next day and the day after that were the same, she seem to just stay in this world of grey, as if she didn’t deserve the brightness of the light.

After the third day of this she got on her knees and prayed. She knew she should have done this sooner but she was so worried about what was wrong that she forgot to ask the one person who could tell her. Her prayer wasn’t a special eye opening prayer but a simple one in which she asked that her heart and ears be open to hear what she needed to hear. While reading a book before bed she remembered something. A day before she was put into the dimness she had shown her friends and family a painting she had done that she was proud of but she had never been too sure of her skill. Those who saw it praised her and told her how wonderful it was. If someone were to ask any one of them they would say that they were not surprised at the talent the girl had. Even with the praise and the encouragement to keep doing more paintings the girl still didn’t believe in herself. She just thought they were being nice. She didn’t know her worth. She wondered if this memory was there to help her understand the predicament she was in.

The next she talked to her mom, she told her what was going on and that she didn’t know what to do. The girl really wanted to be back in the rays of the sun, she wanted to be back in the same light as everyone else. She even told her mom about the day she showed everyone her painting. As she finished talking she noticed that her mom had this simple smile on her face. She invited her daughter to sit with her on the porch. As gently as she could the girl’s mom hugged her and said with love “my child, you don’t know your worth, and that is why you are not shining as bright as you could” It wasn’t that the sun’s rays were not shining on the girl, or that the lights in the building at her school were more dim when she walked through them. The girl did not know her worth and so she started to see the world around her as more bright because to her everyone else had more to offer. Once she started to believe in herself, once she started to understand and see what others saw in her, once she understood the love that God had for her and the talent He gave her, the dimness would start to fade away. She would start to see herself as brightly as what she saw in her environment.

We so easily become this girl. A new person gets hired on at our job to learn to do the job we are doing, our light gets dim. A lie is told about us, our light grows dim. Someone does something better than us, our light grows dim. We mess up, we fail at something, we fall, all these things will cause our light to grow dim. When this happens the world around us seems to be brighter and we just can’t seem to understand why we can’t get into that light. We are our own barriers. When we know our worth, when we know that God loves us and wants our lives be filled with joy, we have strength. We can go through hard times and failures and still shine just as bright as those around us if not brighter. We are all unique, just as we should be. How boring this world would be if we were all the same. When we shine bright because we are confident in who and whose we are we can share our brightness with people around us. It really doesn’t matter if we are an adult or a child, there are times when our shine isn’t as shiny. It’s in these moments we need to seek God and see if we fell into the trap again of not accepting our worth. The world is a beautiful place filled with sparkling, shining people accepting who they are and helping others to find their sparkle too. Do you shine brightly, or do you walk around in a world that needs more light? Until next time:

…and today is the day, stand out, stand up, stand your ground. Be the “who” that you are and be proud, and when you feel that you can’t make a sound, right there is the time when you’re supposed to get loud. Wake up, get up and do something.

Excerpt from a song on the radio

Laughing often

Sitting around the table in my grandma’s kitchen meant that there was food nearby. Most of the time the food was a dessert of some sort brought by one of my relatives. We loved to sit together and visit while eating. There didn’t have to be a specific reason for the visit and it didn’t really matter if the dessert was cookies, cakes, or pies we would eat and talk. A big part of the visits was laughter. Our family isn’t quiet in general but when you added laughter to the mix you could hear us from a block away. It was addicting and looking back I now understand why my mom never wanted to leave the conversations to take us somewhere (usually it was to the mall so we could walk around and do nothing).

One of the greatest sounds I remember was laughter. One of my aunts had the loudest laugh ever! I knew she was there though even if it was from a mile away. She just had that way about her. I think of her now as the glue that held our family together and she still does today. My mom used to take us over to her house and we would hang out with her for the day. It seems that she always had somewhere to be and if she didn’t she would plan for us to go somewhere. We would pile into her bright yellow bug and zoom to the desired destination. I think the biggest thing about her is that she incorporated laughter and joy into her day.

That sticks with you. Our brains are programed to either respond to fear or joy. When we allow our minds to work as they should we start to be on the lookout for joy. Fear brings the responses of fight, flight, or freeze which as we all know cause us to close up shop and not look for anything remotely joyful because we are so focused on the fear. You know what happens when you can’t seem to find joy in the moment? Our brains will try and go back to our memories of joyous times. The more memories we have of joy and the more times we find joy in our lives the more our brains are filled with it.

There are days when I don’t even have time to sit down for lunch, these are the days I come home exhausted and in a state of wonder on if I did anything productive during the day. These days are also the days in which I try and do too many things at once. I have too many things on my brain, my thumbs hurt from all the texting, and my emotions are fried because I couldn’t be everything for everyone all at once.

Then I have the days, usually when I take myself away from the crazy life, in which I can see the beauty around me. I can enjoy the conversations with my kids, and my hubby. I put the phone down and I am in the moment. I am not trying to do 50 things at once. These times are when I find my laughter. I love that my laugh is as loud as my aunt’s. I love that when I worked at the “Happiest Place on Earth” my boss used to tell me that I had to quiet down my laughter because he could hear me all the way across the park. When I purposely look at life around me, joy pops up because I am not ignoring it with business.

As living human beings joy is healthy for us. Science has proven it over and over again. Think of the last time you were with a group of people that you just had pure fun with. Laughter was probably a big part of it. My family wasn’t always happy per say, but we had lots of moments of joy. Life isn’t easy as a grown up, but there are lots of moments of joy. Joy is from God. He created us to not live in fear but in joy. This doesn’t mean we are always happy, but it does mean we can trust and rely on the One who designed us. Today find some joy. If you have a pet, take time to love on them. Go for a walk without your phone. If joy is hard to find, think to a memory that was joyous for you. The world is hard to live in sometimes, so we have to do our part to keep joy centerstage. Until next time:

Research has shown laughing for two minutes is just as healthy as a 20min jog. So now I am sitting in the parking lot of the park giggling at all the joggers.

The Fear of Failing

Sixteen years ago there was a twinkle in our eyes. We had been married for 3 years and were just barely starting to get into the habit of being married. We were just the two of us. We managed to keep the furry kids alive without too much damage to their mental health, so we thought maybe starting a family would be a good idea. Our oldest daughter joined us, coming into this world knowing nothing and depending on us for her every need, including keeping her safe and healthy. There was a healthy fear of failing mainly due to the fact that there was no instruction manual that came with her. We knew the basics, she eats and drinks therefore she has to poop and pee. She is active therefore she must sleep. She will cry therefore we have to comfort and provide security for her. We could say that we succeeded in the basics. The failure came in the extras, but with the failures came times of growing and learning. We as parents were far from perfect in the decisions we made but we know that she felt loved and was loved.

As we are about halfway into her sixteenth year, she now has two siblings and is now showing us how to better take care of her. There is still the need and the obligation to push her though. The fear of failing is huge. There are two teenagers in the home now and the youngest will be one in a couple of years. The internet and social media are major influences in the lives of our teens and have already told us and proven to us that we have failed. My oldest has this fear of driving. She got her permit a couple months ago and made a plan for herself to get her license before winter next year so she wouldn’t have to walk to school. It’s a great plan, it’s a plan we can help her with. It’s a plan that will not get off the ground if she won’t get behind the wheel. It’s a plan that will fail if she can’t get out from behind the fear.

The pastor today talked about wearing the armor of God. The thoughts, and fears and attacks that we do to ourselves could be stopped if we just wore the helmet of salvation. We would know our worth if we had on the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, sword of the spirit, and the belt of truth. We are our worst critics and instead of listening to the world around us and going to the word of God instead we would have more weapons at our disposal to take on the attacks against us. My eldest doesn’t think she can drive safely, yet she does well when we do get her behind the wheel. As a momma I have to remind myself that I am not a failure when my kids choose a path that I might not have chosen for them. As a mom I am called to fight for my kids, I am learning the only way to do this is on my knees talking to God.

I have a fear of failure. I don’t like the feeling of failing. Everyday I know I fail at something. It is only because I am far from perfect. I know that from my failures I will learn. Just as my daughter will learn to drive, I will learn from what I did not get right. Joy comes from not being perfect. Imagine if every morning there was a mandate that you had to give up something special to you for every failure you had that day. I would stay in bed. Our bodies physically would not be able to handle the amount of stress trying to be perfect would put on us. Did you know that our bodies respond to when we are stressed, depressed, and in pain? It sounds like a silly question but our bodies even respond to the failures that we have. Our immune systems aren’t as strong, our mental capabilities to take on things lessen, we don’t have as much energy to do things. The flip side is when we know we can’t be perfect and when we embrace the fact that we will fail but can grow from them, our bodies are healthier. We look at life differently because we know we don’t have to constantly prove to ourselves and others that we are perfect.

Having failure built into the learning process and allowing ourselves to get used to failing will take away the fear of failing. If we know our worth in Christ, we don’t have to worry about what we look like to the world. We can fall on our face just to get right back up to keep going forward. Failure no longer is a bad word. Joy comes from knowing that I wasn’t called to be perfect, I was called to be willing. I am a momma to my three kids because I was willing, and because I was willing failure comes with it as well as succeeding. My daughter will fail many times before she gets comfortable with the life skills she has to learn, but she will also succeed in them. Fear is a powerful force, but being loved by God and knowing your worth is much more powerful. Until next time:

Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.”

Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place”

Marianne Williamson


Those who know me know I hate to be cold. So the fact that there were a couple of days in the near future that were going to be warm, I was excited. I even took a day off from work so that I could enjoy the warmth. I am the kind of person who when I get something in my head that I want to do I will work to make sure it happens. These warm weathered days that were coming meant that I would be outside. I would exercise outside, I would take my motorcycle out for a spin, I would stand outside and soak up the rays for as long as I could. These warm days are the first ones to show up after a winter that always seems too cold for my liking. I had expectations and they were going to be met!

My bike ride started out well. It was the first one in a little over a year so I did some side streets to get myself acquainted with riding again. It felt good to be on the bike, I had my visor up and the world felt like it was whizzing by me at 40 mph. My first stop was to drop off something for a client. There is something about pulling up to a house and having the occupants not grasping that the rider of the motorcycle is here for them. It’s a bit thrilling in a small sort of way. My next stop was to the clinic to feed the clinic cats. I know what you are thinking “I thought this was your day off?” Yeah it was, but I still had to take care of some of my responsibilities. This is where things didn’t quite go as planned. I was was trying to turn right from a stop sign and I lost my balance and “laid my bike down”. Nothing but my pride was hurt but man it is hard to stand up a 500 pound bike. I got my bike back up right as a guy pulled up to help. Not exactly what I expected but in the end it worked out.

Expectations are weird things sometimes. You think things will go a certain way, you hope that people will act differently, you have the way you think things should go all planned out in your mind but then they don’t end up that way. My hubby had a plan this spring break, he was going to get the kid’s bathroom painted and the floor fixed. He even took two days off from work to get this done. As day three is coming to a close the bathroom is 85% done and as he is working on this project the animals and I are doing our part to stay out of his way. When he gets a plan set in his mind it’s best to let it happen that way. Helping could be harmful to your health. I love my man, and I know this about him and so I do my part to keep him sane. When we were a younger married couple I had different expectations of how we would do projects together. I learned quickly that you help only when asked, you don’t just jump in and expect to know what is needed. This sounds simple enough, but when you think you are a good helper and you’re actually not, it makes for frustration projects.

Life is full of ups and downs, rights and lefts. It really is like riding a roller-coaster. There is a thrill in the ride, there is a joy in the ride especially when you do it with people you love. There is the stomach falling to your knees feeling though that can really make you sick to your stomach. These are the areas in which the expectations of life don’t always go as planned. When on the ride though, you can’t just “skip to the good part”, you have to go through the plunges as well as the twists and turns. Know your people, and know your God and the rest is history. Love and joy go hand in hand. Expect the best but plan for unexpected adventures along the way.

I will have more bike rides in the glorious sun. My hubby will have more projects that he will plan and finish in the way he wants to. Family life will have ebbs and flows like the ocean. Work life will have people who give their all while others don’t give as much. Money will be spent, and food will be eaten, and life will go on. Faith, joy and love will remain steadfast. Life is full of expectations. We all will see them through different lenses. That is what makes us who we are. I may not always like what happens but I know that joy will help keep me strong. Until next time:

Negativity is contagious

Unhappiness is contagious.

Fear is contagious.

But so is happiness.

So is optimism.

So is love and joy.

Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. And strive to be a reflection of what you want to receive.

Michell C Clark

Change is a Constant

No sooner than the thought entering his mind did the tile floor start coming up. The shower rod was taken down, and the mirror was leaning up against the wall. The kids were taken over to their grandparent’s house for spring break so change was inevitable. The bathroom that the kids use has been bugging my hubby for quite some time. The walls need new paint and the floor needed to be fixed. We get it into our heads that projects need to happen when spring break comes along and so that is what we do. Change is a constant it seems.

Home improvement projects aren’t the only things that seem to be changing though. Facebook has a way of showing us how much we have morphed into the people we are today. The only reason really that I look at Facebook these days is to see the memories that pop up. They show me the person I used to be, how cute my kids used to be playing in the mud, and how good my hubby looks when he is building or creating something new. They also show people who used to be in our lives, and the events and jobs we used to have. If someone were to see my page 10 years ago they would see that I was a runner. I was a momma and I was in the vet field.

A lot has changed, but has also stayed the same. I am still a momma but now I have more grey hair, my kids talk to be about everything from gun laws to anime. I am still in the vet field but with a different vet hospital, different role but with a lot of the same people from 10 years ago. I would love to say I run as much as I did back then but honestly I took time off from running, and am just getting back into it but more for enjoyment than races. I am in much better health now than I was then, and I have a healthier mindset.

On the way home from a trip yesterday I was talking to my hubby about the near future change that will happen. Our oldest will graduate (in two years) and that will forever change the dynamics of our home. I was telling him how much I enjoy when the three kids are in the living room with us just being silly. When they are wrestling, or playing, or even talking with each other I have such joy in that. The typical response for us as parents is to “hush” them because they are getting too loud, or “calm them down” so they don’t take things too far like we did when they are younger. I am realizing that it is more important that they are out with us. They are allowing us a parents into their world. Heck I am even happy when they offer to help with the projects we start on the house.

One day the house will be a lot quieter. One day I will look at Facebook at the memories that have been made in the last few years and I will hopefully smile at them and love the amount of time spent with the family. Work will change too, we might have new people in the pictures, my hubby will have new projects, the kids will have new adventures.

Change is a constant, it’s not easy. There are days when the joy of change cannot be contained while other days there is more crying than laughter. Today I will go to work as my hubby works on the bathroom. My son already called to say good morning while I know that his sisters and grandparents are probably still sleeping. Charlie dog has already been outside 5 times because of the cat she saw out the front window, while Jorj faithfully sits by his master’s side hoping for a piece of sausage.

I am not one to say I like change. There is a part of me that would like to keep things the same. The other part of me though, I cherish the change. I love that new experiences have happened and new people have formed from the “little monsters” that ran around the house. I love where I am now vs. where I was as a new vet nurse. I love the progression of my marriage. Change takes a newborn baby and makes her a creative, loving young lady. Change takes a “know it all” newly wed couple and makes them a wiser, more mature couple. Change is in the seasons, it’s in the moments, it’s life. Embracing it, and finding the joy because there is the constant of faith and love makes the harder times bearable, and the exciting times more exciting. Choose joy in the change. Until next time:

Saw this the other day and thought how accurate it is:

Accidentally stepped on my husband’s foot:


Accidentally stepped on my dog’s paw:

“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry! Are you ok buddy? I am so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I love you. You want a treat? You’re the best boy, yes you are!”

To be Needed

There was an emergency in the hospital that I work at. The dog was in need of supportive care and would have to be hospitalized. When I first started out in the vet tech field this was what I did a lot of, I would be on a rotation with other nurses for the weekend shift. If there was a patient that was admitted for hospitalization on the weekend that was assigned to me, I was the one that would go in and take care of the nursing needs of that patient. I learned a lot over the years doing that, and though I didn’t always want to go in on a weekend I knew that I was doing good work helping the patient and the family that he/she belonged to. It would feel good to be needed.

As I worked and moved up the ladder to more of a head nurse, the weekend jobs would go to the assistants and those training to be a vet nurse. The doctor would check in more often or at times I would as well but I didn’t have to go in as often. In a weird way, it made me feel not as needed but then logic set in and reminded me that I am used in so many other ways within the hospital. I know I am needed still but in different capacities. The act of feeling needed puts you in a position of knowing that there is someone out there that thinks of you when they are doing something difficult and you know you can make it easier.

I tend to do this with my family as well. I know that eventually they will need me less and less especially now that I have two teens. As a momma this can be a bit harder than a job, since you spend so much of your waking hours hoping to keep these little humans alive just to have them go and do their own thing as teens. You know how difficult it is to get a teenage girl to eat food? I mean I love food, it is something that brings me joy. It feels like I am twisting an arm, leg or even a neck at times just to get my girls to eat dinner. God forbit there is chicken or pork involved! My oldest just got her permit to drive which means in the near future she can then drive her siblings around. Now I know this will make my life and my hubby’s life easier but there is still that little part of me that is mourning this step into freedom that she is taking.

The thing I can control is the fact that I can still be needed by myself. I know that I can still advocate for myself. When I feeling down and un-needed I know that I am not reading my Bible enough and relying on God as I should. When I feel like I don’t have energy or that I want to sit and eat a whole container of cookies I know that I have not been giving myself enough push to better myself. When I get done with a run or a exercise routine I feel like I can take on the world. When I decide to skip a day because I just don’t feel like doing the work, I start on a downward spiral that ends with an empty container of Oreos. To be needed all the time by others can be exhausting. To not give yourself enough time for self care can be exhausting.

I am at my strongest when I am in my element helping. There is a rush to being needed but as with everything there has to be a balance. This is where joy comes into play. I admit to worrying about the future and not being needed as much. I also know that I do this so I try daily to combat this. When you live joyfully, there is a balance. There is a time to rest and relax and there is a time to stand up and be involved. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 it states that there is literally a time and place for everything. I can’t be needed all the time , just as I can’t be awake all the time. It is not healthy. It is also not healthy to always want to be the person people depend on. The balance has to be there too, which means taking a step back and allowing others a chance to step up into the role. It’s not easy, self-doubt and even jealousy can creep in, but if you know your worth, and your place then you can be at peace. Until next time:

People have to feel needed. Frequently we just offer a job and “perks”. We don’t always offer people a purpose. When people feel there is a purpose and that they’re needed, there’s not much else to do except let them do the work.

Maya Angelou

Joy Abounding

I know I am sleeping, only because I know I went to bed to do just that. Actually everyone in the house did. so I know I am sleeping but I keep hearing this noise. So I reluctantly release the hold I have on the peaceful slumber I was in. There is a thwap, thwap, thwap sound followed by a small scratch of medal. My alarm goes off at this moment and I realize if I don’t protect myself quickly I will soon be mauled by the very creature that is making the sounds. So I prepare myself as a white ball of energy jumps up onto the bed from the kennel she was previously enclosed in.

in this same moment I realize I am being held down by a ball that is heavy enough to keep me from moving and warm enough that I realize I don’t want to move. My dog Jorj could care less that he is inconveniencing me with the weight of his body on my legs. When we starting out going to bed he claimed his spot right away up against my legs. He has pure joy being under the comforter up against my hubby or I. He knows he is loved and has the “spot of honor” while his silly little sister has to be kenneled.

You know when you put oil and water together, it looks as if it will mix but then it doesn’t? This is how I would describe every morning since we got our dog Charlie. Joy comes in different forms, it doesn’t always show bubbly and playful, and it’s not always calm and snuggled in. But when you mix it up it doesn’t separate, it just is joy. The funniest thing to watch is when Charlie is first let out of her kennel, she grabs whatever toy is available and then tries to get up on the bed. She has the jumping ability, and does it often, but it’s the ability to get up without disturbing Jorj that she has to figure out. We have hardwood floors with a rug at the foot of the bed, this is where the traction is to jump up. The foot of the bed is where Jorj loves to lie which prevents Charlie’s attempt at jumping. Most days she doesn’t care, she just jumps, he growls and she proceeds to mom and dad where she knows she will be received at least with pets. Other times she waits for dear old dad to lift her up on his side of the bed so that she can prance around like she did it herself, in the process thwacking whoever is in her path with the deadly tail. Joy Abounding

I want joy abounding, but it is not as easy as it looks. If I were a year old “puppy” without a care in the world it would be so much easier. I am not though, I am a momma, wife, friend, and work which means I have co-workers. I have what most people have, and I am thankful for it. There are so many variables that contend for my attention in the different aspects of my life, and I would love to say I maintain a certain amount of bubbly joy in each of those but that would be exhausting. Even my Charlie dog quiets down and even goes back to sleep after being let out. This is why I love that joy comes in different levels and flavors. Abounding joy is deep down. It may not always be felt, but that’s ok, it’s not an emotion but rather a way of life. Pure joy comes from above, from Christ. It’s like a spring that never goes dry. We have to remember to drink from it though.

Life isn’t easy, and we were never told it would be. My Charlie dog doesn’t exactly like that every night she is put in her kennel while our Jorj dog gets to be on the bed, but she does it anyways. She is “stuck” until morning, but man when morning comes she is so excited. My Jorj dog doesn’t necessarily like that we added our Charlie dog to the family, but when they start playing together he loves having another dog to play with. Our family doesn’t always get along, it’s not easy with dad jokes, two teen girls, a son who thinks he really did get raised in a barn and of course me who feels the need to clean all the time. We love each other though, we are learning and growing. We tolerate and move forward. We don’t always have the enthusiastic joy of Charlie dog and her toy, but there is a deep down joy. There are days that I am like Charlie dog, the joy just bounces around and it can be felt by everyone around me. Then there are days that I rely solely on that joy (Christ) to get me through the day. It’s on those days I am so thankful that I don’t have to do it on my own. Until next time:

When God wanted to create fish, He spoke to the sea. When God wanted to create trees, He spoke to the earth. But when God wanted to create man, He turned to Himself.

Then God said: “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness”.


If you take a fish out of the water it will die; and when you remove a tree from soil, it will also die.

Likewise, when man is disconnected from God, he dies.

God is our natural environment. We were created to live in His presence. We have to be connected to Him because it is only in Him that life exists.

Water without fish is still water, but fish without water is nothing.


Being Patient Joyfully

I have been working with the goal of having more patience. A devotion I read the other day was about the fact that patience comes from above, a vertical plane, we need to use this plane of patience so that we can horizontally give it to people we interact with daily. This is extremely hard when the people we have in our lives don’t make it easy to be around them much less have patience with them. I am not saying I don’t like who I am around but I will admit that there are days in which patience is not what I want to give them. It’s on these days that I wonder how God gives me patience.

Lately my oldest daughter and my hubby have been butting heads. In one corner is my teenage daughter who has to be in control of the the things and outcomes around her. She will come home from school and want to talk to an adult about her day (we are so very thankful and know we are blessed that she does this). She tends to choose the wrong times to do this. My hubby (in the other corner) usually gets home before I do and will get started on dinner (in which I am so very thankful). He loves to turn on the Ipad start the movie he is currently watching and get the meal cooking. He gets into this zone. The zone is somewhat of a barrier that is put up unintendedly by him. Most nights my daughter smacks right into this barrier when she starts telling him about her day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that he doesn’t want to listen, it’s more that he can only handle so much himself. Being a guy, he is wired to fix things. When my daughter starts talking he starts hearing the things that he feels needs to be fixed. This doesn’t mix well with remembering ingredients and the fight scene that started in the movie. So the patience factor is not there.

I am working on a different type of situation in which I am trying to balance the act of being a full time veterinary nurse, a mom and wife. I want to be everywhere at once and I have this desire to have some control in the different aspects of my life. I run into the problem that the people around me don’t see my vision, and why would they? They are in their own circle of balancing acts in their own lives. I get hurt when my kids do something out of the normal (what I consider normal), but they are just trying to figure out who they are. I get irritated when the people I am to count on at work don’t always hold up their end of the bargain. I take it personally when my hubby is hangry and doesn’t realize he is taking it out on those around him. I want to be on the horizontal plane of patience but I haven’t asked the one on the vertical plane for help. God says love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, the verse goes on to say that love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Imagine if love was a person. That is a lot to live up to, luckily Love is God, and we don’t have to try and be love, we just have to learn from the One that is love so that we can give it to others.

Add joy to the mix of patience as well as turning the thought process around to giving vs. receiving. In the earlier years of marriage there was a lot I expected from my hubby. When he didn’t live up to my expectations I would get frustrated. A wise friend asked me one day if I was praying about my frustrations? She asked me if I was praying to change my hubby or if I was praying about how I could change my thoughts about him. It’s so much easier to beg God to change the people, change the circumstances, change the outcomes. What if instead we prayed about the areas in ourselves that need to be changed, cleaned out, redone. My daughter wants to talk with an adult when she gets home, but hits the barrier. Instead of getting frustrated about it, she could ask her dad after he was done if they could talk about her frustrations. She and my hubby would find more joy and patience in this act than just doing the same old routine.

When I see what I perceive as a fault in someone else, I need to first check myself and have a good heart to heart with God before bringing it up. Joy comes in love, love is patient and kind, and it always perseveres. I can complain until I am blue in the face or I can pray about the problem/situation/person and then go forth in love and patience. Being patient is not easy, being joyfully patient is not easy. Life was not meant to be easy, it was meant to teach, grow, and test us. When we use what is given to us by the One that is Love (which includes patience and joy) we will find that we can give the control of our life to Him. Until next time:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Looking Forward

The stage is set, the flowers and the bridesmaids are beautiful. The groom is anxiously awaiting his bride as she walks down the aisle. We are all staring at her as she passes, willing our love for her to be shown through our eyes so that she can feel it at she passes. The couple has been planning and praying over this event for months now, and the day has finally arrived where the pastor will say “I do” and they will be man and wife. As the ceremony proceeds, and stories and words are shared the future is thought about but in a way that is overshadowed by the moment of love. The couple is in the moment in which they don’t care about what will happen an hour from now much less a year.

As a young couple long ago, my hubby and I were just trying to figure out what it was like to live together, spend together, and plan together. We didn’t get a lot of things right, because we were flying by the seat of our pants. We both came into our marriage with financial debt, but we also both had our own expectations of what marriage would really be like. At times we would get through life day by day, trying to just make it without stressing each other out. For the most part though, we leaned on each other, we had trial an errors in which we grew stronger together, and we made time to plan. We would be grounded in the day but we would let our minds go for what the future held.

We now have kids that are at the stage of planning their futures. It’s amazing to think that the dreams you dreamt about years ago are in your present and you are living them out. Planning now looks so different than planning then. There are just as many prayers about what the future holds while being present now, but the dialog has changed. Joy comes from deep down, it comes from knowing that even if life is hard and the laughter isn’t always there, you belong and are loved. Joy comes from knowing Christ loves you the way you were years ago and how you are now. My hubby and I are more secure in who we are as individuals but also as a couple. Our kids are learning the ways of the world and where they fit into it. They struggle so much with what the world tells them they should be doing, how they should act, what they should see as important. They are trying to figure in where their faith fits into the whole of who they are. They are planning (at least my girls are) for what they will do in the near future. They are looking forward and dreaming. We as their parents are looking forward and dreaming as well, but also looking to see where we can teach them life skills that will keep them on the right path.

It’s a funny thing to plan, and dream and hope. It takes the mundane and makes it bearable. It makes the every day a bit brighter. It’s exciting to see with your mind’s eye what dreams fulfilled could look like. Dreaming and planning is work, but worth it. When my kids were little, planning looked like the amount of time I had to myself while they napped. Now it’s the amount of time I have with them in general. The focus has changed. My hubby and I are no longer trying to figure life out day by day, we have a routine now, we have little nuances about each other than speak louder than words will. We now plan the future out in trips and collage funds vs. diapers and making ends meet.

There is an energy to life when you take the time to look up from the grind. When you take the time to look at what is around you. The grind will be there, it’s what pays the bills and keep life going. I love the new year, it’s like starting over. I love it because I know there are adventures coming in the new year. A new school year happens, new trips, new financial goals, new jobs, new dreams, new outlooks on current dreams and plans. These help when there are bumps in the road. Praying over your dreams and plans will bring blessings along the way. Looking forward is not a new concept, wanted something better than what we have is not bad, unless we are doing it for the wrong reasons. Praying and seeking God’s guidance should be the first step in any planning, He wants you to have a future and hope after all. What do you dream about? What are you planning for? Look forward to what lies ahead but stay grounded in Christ while doing it. The road won’t always be easy, but it is worth it. Until next time: I love this quote from Mother Theresa:

You will teach them to fly, but they will not fly your flight. You will teach them to dream, but they will not dream your dream. You will teach them to live, but they will not live your life. Nevertheless, in every flight, in every life, in every dream, the print of the way you taught them will remain

Mother Theresa

Sprinkle in a little Sunshine too

It was such a good day! My sweet hubby got it into his brain that we needed to actually plan in advance family days. Don’t tell him I said this but he is a genius. Our family is the typical busy family, my hubby and I both work and the kids are in school so nights and weekends are when we can do things as a family. There are times when we do things on a whim and they work out pretty well, if we don’t have other things that have to be done on that same day. So that is where the planning comes into play. We looked at our calendar chose days that we wanted to do something and then we book it. Doesn’t sound too difficult huh? In theory it isn’t, when actually putting it into practice it isn’t as bad a pulling teeth but it is as hard as slowing down, sitting down and taking the time to plan.

So we went snow tubing. We reserved our times (thank you covid) and this past weekend was our time on the mountain. We made lunches the night before and made hot cocoa to bring so we had something hot to drink while there. We packed up the car with the kids and food and headed out. Two hours later we pulled into the snow park and proceeded to have 3 hours of sliding down the hill. Last year when we did this we knew there was a possibility of someone going over the berm into someone else’s lane (they have 5 lanes set up for a fast ride down). This year was no different other than the addition of some hay about 3/4 of the way down (I think they finally figured out they need to slow the tubes down somehow). First go we all realized that we would be taking some of that hay home with us due to the fact that as you go over the mixture of snow/hay some of the hay flies up into your hair, face, jacket basically anything exposed. It did do it’s job though, we slowed for a split second and then sped right back up once the tube hit the slick snow on the other side.

One of my kids tubing

The people that thought this tubing hill up were quite smart, they set up lanes (great for racing each other), they have a escalator type ride that carries you and your tube up to the top of the hill (so no one gets tired climbing), and they have the tubes. You literally just show up! My son wanted so bad for one of his family members to hold onto his tube and go down with him at the same time. We tried to tell him that it would mean he would go faster and that there was a chance that he could be launched into the other lane because of how light he is but he insisted. So he and his sister did lane number 1 (historically the fastest lane out of the five). I was at the top of the hill waiting to go down my slower lane, lane 5 when I saw my son and his tube jump the berm and he rolled in the hay literally. We watched waited and then saw him get himself up, get his tube and walk the rest of the way down the lane. I knew at that moment we had to get him back up the hill for him to tube down again so that he wouldn’t be afraid to do it more. I am happy to report he went down the hill numerous times after that and stayed in his tube each time.

More people tubing

My middle daughter and hubby were not so lucky, both got flung out of their tubes a couple of times while my oldest and I were able to stay upright and in our tube the whole morning. By the time we were done, the hill was slick from the sun, the hay was spread thin and we all had smiles on our faces. Our family has fun together when we get to be together. We are an active family, and do most of our stuff outdoors. There is a saying that goes something like this: If you have to find time to do something with loved ones it’s a chore, but when you make time to do something with your loved ones it’s a joy. We get so busy, focusing so much on what is in front of us that we simply forget to have fun. There will always be chores to do, bills to pay and work to be done. My kids are growing up so fast (yes, I was warned this would happen) and so spending time with them is one of my highest priorities. I want them to look back on their childhood and know that they were loved for one, but remember all the fun times we had together.

I received a group text from one of my aunts who lives south of me. She was inviting her sisters over to sit outside to visit while she weeded her garden. She said there would be food, sunshine and of course a blanket to sit on, and there was no obligation at all for anyone to help with the weeding. This was purely a way for her to have her sisters near. As I read through this short text my immediate response was that I wanted to come over too! My sister (great minds think alike) said the same thing (I might have copied her, but don’t tell her that). In my mind it seemed like such a fun afternoon event. Low key but full of love and food, some of my favorite things. This text also reminded me of the many times when I was younger that we did the same thing that my mom and aunts were doing. Such good memories! I hope that I will be in a similar text in the future but instead of my aunts it’s my girls inviting each other over to do the same thing, hopefully they will invite me too. Until next time:

If you want to have Joy, you have to have Joy on purpose. When you wake up in the morning, you can’t just wait to see what kid of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have. Joy helps you see the day clearer and with more sparkle.

You are What you Wear?

Driving to an appointment today I saw a bright pink object on the side of the road. As I drove closer I realized that it wasn’t an object but rather a person who was walking wearing the brightest pinkest suit you could think of. His hair was also a less bright shade of pink. My first thought was dang, that’s bright, but right after that thought was “you go boy!” wear that suit proudly, which he was doing. I am not a stranger to bright, weird or colorful outfits. My hubby loves to think outside the box when it comes to his shirts and shoes in particular. He has been known to wear a skirt to get into the spirit of a holiday or work function too. If you were to meet him for the first time though he can be a little intimidating (picture a tall guy with a bald head and goatee).

Going a step further I know some people that won’t go to the gym because they don’t look as good as others that go to the gym already. The tighter workout clothes that are the style can push people away from doing something good for themselves. It makes sense, if you already don’t feel comfortable with your body, it can be hard to be around others who have gotten fit and show it off. With that being said, those who want to go to the gym should and not worry about what others look like. I wear the workout gear because it is comfortable to work out in. It doesn’t change who I am as a person.

The kind of clothes we where can give clues to the type of people we are. It doesn’t set it in stone. I wear scrubs all day long, five days a week, but I am a momma, a wife, a friend, I love to workout. The scrubs I wear would not tell you that. One a higher note what do we put on before we leave the house? Do we wear our pride like a badge? Do we clothe ourselves in humbleness? What do we put on our feet to protect us from the harshness we walk through? Kindness should be like our favorite sneakers that we wear whenever we can because they are so comfortable. Love should be worn like your favorite earrings, something that is beautiful maybe even a little bit of sparkle added? Patience is the hoodie that is worn out but you never want to get rid. When it’s cold outside and all seems so bleak that’s when the overcoat of forgiveness is worn.

We put so much thought into our outfits, I wonder if we put that amount of thought into how we act and how we treat others what that would be like. It would be such an eye opener if for just a day we had special vision that allowed us to see what emotions people wore, what attitudes and personalities that carry around. The ability to see these things would show us more about who a person is, as well as who we are. Of course this is how Christ sees us. He is not concern so much about the outer appearance but more what is in the heart. What a scary and exhilarating thought. I literally cannot hide the thoughts I have, every word under my breath, every judgement I place, every praise I don’t say out loud to someone, He knows and hears them all. It can be overwhelming, but I also know I don’t have to hide anything when it comes to Christ because I can’t. That is comforting.

My clothes don’t make me the person I am. I will be that person wearing scrubs or wearing sweats. I am who I am. There is joy in that too. What kind of person are you under the clothes you wear? What attributes do you put on like clothing before you head out the door? Until next time:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another...but above all these things put on love.
Colossians 3:12-14

Little bits of Joy

About 3 weeks ago I was talking with my sister in which she brought up that she is starting to have weekly visits with our younger brother. I thought this was such and cool thing and expressed that I wish I could hold a conversation with brother without it falling into the awkward stage of nothing more to talk about. I have a very hard time with small talk, and though I know that I have things in common with my brother, he lives so far away and we see each other every other year generally. So that means his life and my life don’t tend to come together very often. As my sister and I were talking about this she came up with the brilliant plan to have me join in on the zoom meeting she our brother have on Saturdays. Let me tell you it was such a good idea. It worked out so well because my sister is amazing at keeping conversations going without the other people knowing that she is doing it. We were able to all “get together” for a visit and it made for a great rest of the day. The meeting that I thought would only be about an hour could have easily gone past the hour and half that it was.

We talked about our kids, we talked about growing up and memories. We talked about upcoming trips that we need to plan. It was so good to see my niece and it was fun to have my son talk with his aunt and uncle. We made fun of each other and talked about how the parents are doing. I learned that my brother didn’t actually hold all the mean things I did to him against me, and that there was actually some nice things I did for him. When we had to get off the meeting to go back to our normal every day lives I felt lighter. It was such a joy and a refreshing hour and a half of just visiting. I get into ruts where everything seems to be mundane and the same. So when there was this change, and it was a good change the rest of the day was a bit more bright. The great thing is they invited me back to their meetings whenever I wanted. That is love, and that is pure joy for me.

My daughter and I had to teach this week at church. When I say “had” though I mean we got to. We love our little class of 5 and 6 year olds. We are doing our best to remember the names of of the kids since we only do twice a month. It is such a joy waiting for the kids to show up, remembering their names and then smiling and welcoming them in with a hug. When their faces light up, it is so worth it. This Sunday my daughter and I decided for the craft we would take pictures of the kids that made it look like they were holding a big group of balloons. We printed them on sitcky back paper and then let the kids draw and color the balloons. Some of the kids didn’t want to take the picture but majority of them did. We had so much fun doing this craft for Valentines Day next week. We learned about the last supper in Matthew 26 and taught the kids that it was a way to remember that Jesus loves us. I know at that age big messages like this are hard for kids to grasp. What they do understand is that there are two adults that are happy to see them (other than their parents). So it’s not just talking about how much Jesus loves them but we show it to them as well.

As I said earlier I tend to get into ruts where it feels like my everyday life can be mundane. I tend to go through the motions sometimes. I love when these little Joy breaks happen. A fun meeting with the siblings, a smiling face from a little girl in my class. Even the other night, my husband let our “puppy” Charlie out to go to the bathroom one last time before we all went to sleep. It usually takes a little time for her and Jorj to “finish their business” so when it took a little longer than normal we started to whistle for them to come in. In true Charlie form she is the first in line. She also had found a toy that I had missed, this toy must have been buried because the full top of her head was covered in dirt. Try as he may my hubby was not quick enough to get her back outside (though he was quick enough to take pictures of her…) and so she decided she needed to get the dirt off herself. All over my floor and rug. Now granted I could have been upset, but let me tell you, it’s hard to be upset when the “puppy” in her looks at you so proudly. Like “look mom, I cleaned myself!” I chose to make that a joy moment, mainly because I was tired and she was too cute to get mad at. Joy breaks are everywhere. They help get you through the times in life that are not so joyous. Life is tough as it is. Why make it harder by not looking around and seeing the joy that is present. Until next time:

You wouldn’t plant a seed and then dig it up every few minutes to see if it has grown. So why do you keep questioning yourself, your hard work and your decisions? Have patience, stop overthinking and keep watering your seeds.

Steven Bartlet

How Available Are You?

A few weeks ago a friend of mine texted me about having lunch. We had worked with each other for over a year and even went to a conference together. We almost share birthdays and tend to think and act almost the same. We have the same careers even. I was determined when I left the job we both worked at that I would keep in touch, and for a little bit we did. We would text mostly, and there were a couple of times we met with another friend to help her with schoolwork. Then life just started to happen. My new job started to get really busy, and his job was already busy, so it came down to texting every once in while, until one day we decided we just needed to have lunch to catch up. When went through our schedules and picked a day and time that worked well. I was excited, I don’t get to sit down with very often with friends to just visit. A few days before we were going to meet up though he had to call it off because of something with his schedule.

I have another good friend who between the two of us we have decided that we need to be spontaneous with our “dates”. She is a busy gal with a young family, and I can’t seem to settle down and just relax. So one of us will call the other and set the date, usually for the next night. This is a new phenomenon that we tried once and succeeded. The second time we wanted to get together we tried this maneuver again and it would have worked a second time, but covid happened and she had to travel. When the positive test result came back, we said we would reschedule.

Being available is a choice. When I get home from work, I don’t tend to answer texts or phone calls from people at work. I had to make the conscious choice to turn that part of my brain off. This goes for the weekend too, which I talked about in previous posts. I have to be available for my self and my family. I have to pick and chose what I want to be available for. If it’s important to me I will make time, but in reality it isn’t always that simple is it. Reading my Bible and doing devotions is important for my wellbeing but there are times that I just can’t get to my favorite chair to read. Setting down my book or phone to listen and be present with my kids and my hubby is so very important to me, but there are nights when I get home and all I can think to do is go “brain dead” on my phone. My sister and I make it a point weekly to meet up in the morning. It is such an important time for us, but there are times when I can’t make it or she is traveling and we have to reschedule.

My well being is important to me, so I show up 2 to 3 times weekly to workout, this means doing some sets that are not comfortable and cause me to sweat just a little bit more than I am used to but I do it, so that I can be healthy and more stable. My job is important to me but the extent of my availability stretches me to grow in my confidence in the job I do. If I didn’t find these things important I wouldn’t make the effort to show up. When I have excuses for not showing up, or I find ways to be busy I don’t want to be available. Throughout history there are stories upon stories of people that decided to be available, and because of that choice history was made. When it is important do you show up or find ways to not be present? Do people count on you? Are you present or do you find ways to “lay low”? How available are you? Until next time:

Think like Tarzan: When he was swinging from vine to vine, he didn’t look to the vines behind him, he focused on the vine he had to grab next so he wouldn’t fall.

To Be Found

When I was younger I would loose things a lot. I would set something down and completely forget where I put it when I needed the object later on. It wasn’t always my things either. I can’t remember exactly what it was that I had lost except for the fact that it was something my dad needed when he got home from work. I remember my momma had me look all over for it and when I couldn’t find it she stood me in the corner and said I had to stay there until I remembered where I put it. Of course I never really stayed in the corner long since mom would go into hyper-drive search mode and find the object way faster that what my memory could come up with.

On the flip side it is so awesome to reach into a pocket at find money there by surprise (though in reality, it was probably put there and then whoever put it there just forgot about it). In my mind that is a great forget, something that just makes you smile and go on the search for more. My mom is once again great at this. Over the many years of being away from home, each time I would go to visit, or she would come visit my family we learned that she likes to hide little treasures throughout the house that we find days to sometimes weeks later. She doesn’t always do it and it is something that is not expected but she must know that when the treasure is found it puts a smile on the recipients face.

I got to have that wonderful feeling over the holidays that I actually got the presents that my family actually wanted. It seemed that every holiday before there would be shopping and guessing and never really getting it right. This year it happened though, all the special items were found, got delivered on time, and the reactions of the people were caught on camera. Finding that special gift just adds a little more magic to the season.

The other night I went to a sweet family’s home to help them say goodbye to their dear cat. The cat was 22 years old which is very old indeed. The daughter at just three years old found the cat as a kitten under their front porch and somehow convinced her parents to let her keep it. Over the years the cat had many adventures outdoors as an great hunter, chaser of deer and was even smart enough to look both directions before crossing the street. As I sat with the family and listened to them tell story after story I knew that it was such a good thing that this cat was “found”. The now young lady said over and over again how her cat was her best friend. There are times when a family pet is found but usually they chose their people.

Finding your sanity in a time that usually strips our sanity from us is a wonderful thing. Over this last week we have had to deal with more people being sick. This can drive anyone to their breaking point. What it meant for the clinic that I work for was a lot of phone calls. There was a lot of rearranging of the schedules so that people would not get exposed to any illness. I forget how much I hate talking on the phone until I have to talk on the phone for a whole day. People are nice and pleasant for the most part, but it’s just draining to repeat over and over the script and then finding a different time slot to reschedule them too. The joy comes in knowing this was done for a reason. We were making sure to keep people safe to the best of our ability by not showing up on their doorstep sick.

Finding surprises like money in a pocket or a kitten under the house brings joy. Standing in a corner with your mind still drawing a blank on where something was put is not as enjoyable. To find something or even having the ability to forget something can be a blessing. To find your joy in all circumstances is where peace will be found. Joy doesn’t come from being happy all the time. Find joy comes from being content, and knowing you are loved and are important to God. Finding your joy and helping people because of the joy you have is amazing. What needs to be found in your life? Is it something that has just been lost in your house, or something bigger that will give you peace of mind? Whatever it is, I hope you don’t need to go stand in a corner until you remember but rather you find it by opening your eyes to the world around you. Until next time:

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.

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